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Saudi Arabia outlaws sexual harassment

Saudi Arabia: 2 New Arrests of Activists

"We are extremely anxious about the overall human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, despite the women's driving ban being lifted in less than a month", Kareem Chehayeb, the group's Saudi Arabia researcher, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

They are also at risk of being eclipsed by the recent arrests of 11 rights activists, many of them identified as veteran campaigners for women's rights to drive.

"Thankfully, the law has finally seen the light".

The new draft law "aims to combat the crime of harassment, prevent its occurrence, punish the perpetrators and protect the victims, in order to preserve the privacy, dignity and personal freedom of individuals guaranteed by the provisions of Islamic law and regulations". Although Saudi Arabia's state news agency claimed it was a shooting down of a toy dronethat had gotten too close to the royal property, some wondered if the gunfire was in fact a coup led by royals against King Salman.

The Shura Council, which acts as the conservative kingdom's formal consultative body and advises the cabinet, approved the anti-harassment law drafted by the Interior Ministry on King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's instructions, according to the BBC.

Saudi Arabia's decision to crack down on sexual harassment comes as the kingdom has been working to reform its oppressive policies toward women.

Anyone who witnessed an instance of harassment should be required by law to report it, she said.

Royal Wedding 2018: The bridesmaids and pageboys
Their dresses were made of ivory silk radzimir and designed by Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller , who also made Meghan's dress . And even though the big day is all about the bride and groom, these tiny guests are making a fashion statement of their own.

The government announced last week that seven people had been arrested for suspicious s with foreign entities and offering financial support to "enemies overseas", and said other suspects were being sought.

While preceding the lifting of the driving ban, the law was introduced in the midst of a crackdown on women's rights activists.

"Given the significant loosening of certain restrictions on women's activities in Saudi Arabia... it is perplexing why both women and men engaged in campaigning for such positive developments are now being targeted by the authorities", the statement said.

Those detained were also branded traitors and "agents of embassies" by state-affiliated media.

But the social reforms appear overshadowed by the recent arrests of at least 10 activists, mostly women, fighting for the right to drive and a change in the male guardianship system.

It added, "If, as it appears, their detention is related exclusively to their work as human rights defenders and activists on women's issues, they should be released immediately".

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