A comparison between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Human rights form the foundation of a harmonious and progressive society. No wonder the United Nations has come up with express conventions, treaties and laws designed to protect human rights. However, the degree of human rights from continent to continent and country to country is not the same. A review of the existing literature reveals that while some countries have progressive human right regimes, others still have their fists clenched against granting basic human rights to the people. A comparison of the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reveals such disparities. This paper is premised on the fact that human rights are fundamental and ought to be harmonised for all nations in the world.
The United Kingdom can brag without contradiction of being among the most progressive in terms of the human rights regimes. In fact, in the United Kingdom, human rights assumes a tripartite approach, based on domestic law of the United Kingdom, regional law of the European Union and the international law under the auspices of the United Nations. Indeed, United Kingdom signed into municipal law, the progressive Human Rights Act of 2000. Prior to the signing of the Act, the citizenry relied mainly on the European Convention of Human Rights of 1950. While the latter Act provided that litigation could only be commenced in Strasbourg, the former Act now grants litigants the opportunity to seek legal redress at the domestic courts in the United Kingdom.
United Kingdom is also signatory to United Nation treaties on human rights, key among them being Covenants on Social, Economic, Cultural, Women and Child rights. In addition, the operating regime in the nation reveals that the laws have not merely been ratified and confirmed on paper, rather they have been practised and inform the policy formulation in the United Kingdom Executive and Parliament.
On the other hand, the situation in the United Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paints a grim picture on human rights. However, one must appreciate the growing democracy in the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia has grudgingly signed some of the progressive human rights treaties including treaties granting rights against torture, discrimination of women, racial discrimination and Child rights. It is essential to note that full realization of these and other rights is yet to take place. A quick glimpse into the contemporary occurrences in Saudi Arabia reveals that the practical application of the laws still remains a pipe dream. In addition, violation of women rights, activist rights and non-government organizations rights still continues. For instance, a municipal election, which is the highest elections in Saudi Arabia, does not allow for women candidacies.
Indeed, Saudi Arabia can be correctly placed among the nations that grossly violate employee rights, women rights and child rights. In other quarters, scholars have blamed the hereditary kingship system of political leadership for the violation of human rights. However, although the human rights regime is still weak, there is hope that situations would improve with the passage of time. The introductions of municipal elections in 2005, the Basic System introduced in 1992 are cited as some of the gains that would gradually blossom into an effective human rights regime.
In conclusion, it should be appreciated that the strong human right regime in United Kingdom is partly due to the democratic gains supported by Western philosophy while the Eastern parts of the world and especially Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia have a low tolerance to democratic ideologies.
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