Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has called on the UN to continue to focus on eliminating Islamophobia. Image Credit: Agency

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia has called on Tendai Akum - the United Nations Human Rights Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia - to continue to focus on eliminating “Islamophobia”.

In a speech before the Human Rights Council, the head of the Human Rights Section at the United Nations Mission in Geneva, Meshaal Bin Ali Al Balawi, said, “The Internet is an available space for practicing racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia, which requires efforts to find solutions to make it a safe and accurately balanced space between respecting freedom of opinion and expression, and combating racism and racial discrimination.”

He explained that spreading ideas based on racial discrimination and inciting racism and hatred using information technology, the internet and social media is a crime, whose perpetrator is punished according to the laws of the kingdom, including what was included in the Information Crime Prevention System of 2007, as it includes punishing those who harm others through various information technology means with imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding SR500,000, equivalent to $133,000 or one of these two penalties.

Regarding the prohibition of organisations that promote racial, religious and national hatred, the head of the Human Rights Section of the kingdom’s mission at the United Nations in Geneva said, “The 2015 System of Associations and Private Institutions includes a ban on the establishment of any association whose regulations include provisions that conflict with the provisions of Islamic Sharia, or public order, or public morals, or violate national unity.”

He added that the legal and institutional frameworks and the outcome of their interaction of executive and judicial measures all combine to prohibit racial discrimination in all its forms, and all these frameworks and measures are subject to periodic and continuous review, especially as the kingdom is currently witnessing significant development reforms within the framework of the kingdom’s Vision 2030.