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Word Count: 592
Women in Saudi Arabia who walk unaccompanied or are in the company of a man who is neither their husband nor a close relative are at risk of arrest on suspicion of prostitution or other moral offences Nieves a Filipina who was working as a maid in Riyadh in 1992 was invited by a married couple to celebrate the wifes birthday at a restaurant She and a female friend decided to go At the restaurant they were joined by a male friend of the couple A group of mutawaeen religious police entered the restaurant saw the group and arrested them They suspected Nieves of being there for an introduction to the male friend of the couple Nieves denied the accusation but was deceived into signing a confession written in Arabic which she understood was a release order That confession was the sole basis of her conviction and sentence 25 days imprisonment and 60 lashes which were carried out Women in Saudi Arabia whether Saudi Arabian or foreign emerge time and again as victims of discrimination and human rights violations because of the gender bias in law social mores and traditions While women have gained some ground in terms of economic rights their civil and political rights are systematically violated Equal treatment for women and men is a fundamental principle of international human rights standards Yet in Saudi Arabia discriminatory practices against women are not only prevalent they are also in some cases required by law Strict segregation of the sexes an integral part of Saudi Arabian society has adverse and unequal effects on women who are denied equal educational opportunities and may work only in certain vocations Womens freedom of movement is severely restricted They may not travel abroad unless they have the written authorization of a male relative usually their father or husband and may have to be accompanied
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