Posted 2009/6/29

Saudi Arabia: Human rights defender Wajeha Al-Huwaider challenges the Guardianship laws

Wajeha Al-Huwaider has launched a new campaign against the Guardianship system which is imposed on Saudi women. She has been trying to cross King Fahad Causeway which connects Saudi Arabia with Bahrain asking to be allowed to leave the country without a male family member's permission.

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Wajeha Al-Huwaider is going to attempt the crossing every weekend and is asking other women to join her. She has gone alone twice already. The Saudi Guardianship system gives men total control over women's lives. It treats women as juveniles.

Under that system, Saudi women are not allowed to get married, get divorced, study, work, travel, get medical care and even leave the house unless they take an approval from a male relative.

Wajeha Al-Huwaider is asking the Saudi Government to remove these restrictions on women's lives by cancelling the guardianship system. She wants women to be treated as responsible citizens like men.

Wajeha Al-Huwaider is a prominent writer and journalists who has been the subject of harassment and a travel ban in the past because of her human rights activities.

Al-Huwaider writes on political, social and cultural issues in the Arab world, including women's rights, the treatment of the Shiite minority, and relations with the West.