End child stonings, UN tells Saudi Arabia

Children on the outskirts of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Source: AAP

A UN watchdog wants Saudi Arabia to get rid of laws that allow children to be stoned, amputated, flogged and executed.

A UN human rights watchdog has called on Saudi Arabia to end discrimination against girls and repeal laws that allow the stoning, amputation, flogging and execution of children.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child examined the kingdom's record of compliance with a UN treaty protecting the rights of people under the age of 18.

The UN experts voiced deep concern that Riyadh "still does not recognise girls as full subjects of rights and continues to severely discriminate (against) them in law and practice and to impose on them a system of male guardianship".

Children over 15 are tried as adults and can be executed, "after trials falling short of guarantees of due process and a fair trial", the report said.

The experts urged Saudi authorities to "repeal all provisions contained in legislation which authorise the stoning, amputation and flogging of children".

Saudi Arabia should "unambiguously prohibit the use of solitary confinement, life sentences on children and child attendance of public execution".

All forms of sexual abuse against children should be a crime and perpetrators prosecuted, the experts said.

They cited the case of Muslim preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi, saying his charges were reduced and he was released from jail "after having raped, tortured and killed his five-year-old daughter" in 2012.

Bandar Bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, chairman of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, told the body that islamic law, or sharia, was above all laws and treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

But the kingdom had the political will to protect children's rights, he said.

Source AAP

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