Dr Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, president of the Human Rights Commission, inaugurated the initiative in a ceremony held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, attended by a number of international representatives. The hotel was famously the location where a number of high profile Saudi business personalities and royal family members were held in custody.
The kingdom is “moving towards another domain and a new horizon for our constructive cooperation, namely the launching of a database containing all the recommendations presented to the Kingdom within the framework of the UN treaty bodies and the two mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, namely the universal periodic review (UPR) and special procedures,” Dr Al-Awwad explained. The database has been built to advance e-government and to reflect the Kingdom's Vision 2030, which he said “one of whose goals is to raise the Kingdom's ranking on the E-Government Index to the top five nations.” He continued, “the Kingdom is the first country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to adopt the national recommendations tracking database (NRTD), which can be considered as an extension of the Kingdom's progress in the field of human rights and its endeavour to collaborate with the UN human rights agencies and mechanisms.”
“A step forward”
Dr Al-Awwad said these steps “confirm Saudi Arabia's determination to continue fulfilling its obligations in accordance with the human rights conventions to which it has become party,” stating that the Kingdom has achieved a remarkable development in the field of human rights promotion and protection at the national level, citing a number of changes to institutions and law, particularly in relation to women. Ambassador Natalie Faustet, the United Nations resident coordinator in Saudi Arabia, said “I am happy to see the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia adopting an advanced approach to track recommendations emanating from different international human rights mechanisms. This is certainly a step forward in advancing the link between the sustainable development goals and the promising Saudi vision 2030.” She added, “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the member states that, proudly, do not have overdue reports to the treaty bodies.”