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Human rights chief visits Gulf region

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay noted an “encouraging level of governmental activity to improve human rights” in the region, especially in the area of economic and social rights, children’s rights and human trafficking, while also raising an array of continuing concerns about women’s rights, migration, statelessness, and freedom of expression, association and assembly.

High Commissioner Navi Pillay is on a ten-day six-country mission to the Gulf region © OHCHR © Saudi News PressPillay’s wide-ranging commentary on the state of human rights in the region was delivered in the form of a keynote speech at the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 19 April at the start of a ten-day six-country mission.

Later on 19 April, the High Commissioner flew to Qatar to begin the second leg of her mission. During the visit to Saudi Arabia she had in-depth and productive discussions on a wide range of issues with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, as well as with the Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz and Justice Minister Dr. Abdullah Bin Muhammad.

The High Commissioner also had talks with members of the Shura Council, senior officials at the Interior Ministry, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission, which played a major role in organizing her mission to the country, and members of civil society. She also visited a center for disabled children as well as a state of the art rehabilitation facility for disabled people.

Her visit to the region, from 17 to 26 April, aims to improve cooperation between the UN human rights system and the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries including, in alphabetical order, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Read full press release

19 April 2010