Investigating Domestic Violence through Human Rights Lens in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabiar

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Saudi Digital Library
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, but women and children in most cases of abuse are the victims. Despite considerable scholarship on domestic violence, Saudi Arabia remains an anomaly in terms of the Kingdom’s approach to domestic violence from both a social and legal perspective. In 2013 a new law was introduced in Saudi Arabia that outlawed all forms of domestic violence. Also, in 2000 the Kingdom ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW) with a general reservation on the basis that precedence is given to Islamic law in the situation of conflict between CEDAW’s provisions and those of Islamic law. This research has taken the challenge of assessing the effectiveness of the 2013 Saudi domestic violence law; and investigates the compatibility of the new law with the rights mentioned in CEDAW and its complementary instruments. Through using a qualitative research approach based on textual legal analysis and conducting interviews with those involved in both the prevention and treatment of domestic violence, this thesis aims at offering an insight as to how the renaissance in outlawing domestic abuse works in practice. The thesis employs an interpretive approach aimed at understanding and reconciling Saudi domestic violence law and International Human Rights Law. The outcomes of the research reveal deficiencies in the legal text of the new Saudi Law; And highlight the performance of the Ministry of labour and Social Development . The thesis suggests that the differences between International Human Rights Law and Islamic law view with regard to combatting domestic violence are minimal, although there is some conceptual divergence regarding women’s rights. Finally, this thesis contends that there is an urgent need to reform the provisions of the Saudi domestic violence law; and a need to provide an additional legal framework that bridges the gender inequality gap and challenges gender discrimination in Saudi Arabia.