The Journey to Register Adala Center for Human Rights

  

Adala Center for Human Rights is a civic association concerned with the promotion and dissemination of the culture of human rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Center was established by a group of human rights activists on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10th, 2011

The Center is considered one of the first institutions of civil society, working in the field of human rights and seeks to operate officially and through its work, to achieve justice and compliance of rights, based on international law of human rights and international humanitarian law and related declarations, principles, standards, recommendations, guidelines and explanations, in addition to regional conventions and local Saudi regulations and legislation, related to human rights

Members of the Center applied to register the Center with the official authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to obtain a license for the Center to be officially registered to facilitate its work of spreading the culture of human rights, monitoring and documenting human rights issues, and providing support and assistance to the victims of violations

Center applied for incorporation dated 9/1/1433H (4/12/2011), after satisfying the conditions required by the Ministry of Social Affairs, in the list of associations and charities, where 21 founding members of the Center submitted the Center’s statutes, clarifying its objectives and working mechanisms

On 23/1/1433H (18/12/2011) the Center received a letter from the Ministry of Social Affairs declining the application because of what they consider incompatibility between the objectives of the Center and the enforced regulations of associations and charities. The Center submitted a grievance to the Ministry of Social Affairs on 6/2/1433H (31/12/2011) due to the decision to decline the application, not being based on sound legal or regulatory grounds

The reply came on 3/14/1433H (6/2/2012), from the Ministry of Social Affairs, rejecting the grievance where the ministry considers the application for the establishment of the Center is incompatible with the regulations of associations and charities

On 29/5/1433H (21/4/2012), members of the Center filed a lawsuit at the Administrative Court against the Ministry of Social Affairs to request a rescinding of its decision to decline to register the Center, where the first hearing was scheduled for 30/6/1433H (21/5/2012) in the Administrative Court in the Eastern Province except that the Ministry’s representative requested a delay to respond under the pretext that the legal documents arrived late

A second hearing was scheduled for 28/7/1433H (18/6/2012) where the representative of Social Affairs submitted a response to the lawsuit by the Centre where the response included inadmissibility of the lawsuit due to delay by the Center to submit the lawsuit in sixty days, which is the time frame the lawsuit should have been submitted, from time the Center was notified of the rejection from the Ministry.  Furthermore, the Ministry responded that it unqualified to license human rights Centers, and it's the prerogative of the Human Rights Commission in addition to the fact that "Adala" requested the establishment of a Center and not a charity, therefore its reliance on the regulations drafted for charities has no basis.  The Adala Center lawyer requested a legal delay to respond

In the third meeting, the Adala Center for Human Rights lawyer prepared a response to the points raised by the representative of the Ministry of Social Affairs, except that the Ministry’s representative was absent from the meeting and a new date was set for another hearing on 16/10/1433 (3/9/2012)

The fourth hearing, held on 16/10/1433H (3/9/2012), the Center presented the Ministry of Social Affairs representative a memorandum containing the Center's response to the point of formality, raised by the Ministry’s representative, that the Ministry did not formally deliver its decision to the Center within the legal sixty day period and that the lawsuit had been filed at the Administrative Court within the period allowed from the date of the decision.  Also the memorandum refuted what was raised by the Ministry that "Adala" was a “center” and not a “society” through  naming a number of centers licensed by the Ministry such as “Prince Salman Social Center”, and “Prince Salman Center for Kidney Disease”, which the Center considers a circumvention of the naming convention. Furthermore, included in the Center’s response, the Ministry’s consideration that the Center’s licensing is within the jurisdiction of the “Commission for of Human Rights”, is invalid because the system does not include issuing licenses to “centers” and “societies”

At the fifth hearing, for the second time, after his absence from the third hearing, the Ministry of Social Affairs lawyer was absent and the date of the hearing was postponed to 20/12/1433H (5/11/2012)

The Center, which began its activities effectively since the announcement of its establishment, is still waiting to receive official authorization, and has not been prevented from issuing three rights reports; the first report: "Freedom of Speech and Expression in Danger" in which most cases of violation of freedom of speech in the Kingdom were monitored. The second report titled: "Chained Freedom” where the report addressed the rights situation for the months of March-April comprehensively and some human rights events of previous months. The third report, which was devoted to cases of arbitrary detention of children accused of expressing their opinion, titled "Children Behind Bars". In addition, the Center, submitted a number of letters which confirm and monitor rights events in the Kingdom, like the letter directed to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, in support of the initiative to establish Dialogue Center amongst religious sects, and the letter, addressed to the Minister of Interior, about the armed robberies that occurred in the province of Qatif, and the letter, addressed to the Minister of Islamic Affairs which demands to stop insulting Shiites in mosques

The Center has also monitored violations of rights, arbitrary arrest and the dismissal from jobs, torture, and the Center works to document and publish reports covering human rights situation, Kingdom-wide in both Arabic and English, in addition to its work on the preparation of studies related to  rights

The Center also works to support and assist the families and victims of abuses by meeting them and providing the necessary legal assistance, and assist in the formation of committees to keep in contact with officials and drive them to act to release detainees.  The Center also contributes by advocating for some of the detainees and those dismissed from their jobs

The Center is in contact with local human rights organizations such as the Human Rights Commission and the National Assembly for Human Rights to provide them with information and reports. The Center also holds regular meetings with official bodies connected with the subject of human rights and seeks to be a reliable source of rights information, and deliverer of news and statements relating to human rights affairs, to the local media

The center works on human rights courses for men and women in order to raise awareness of human rights and the cognitive level of the community and build its capabilities in the field of human rights

The center seeks through its work in the field of human rights to achieve respect for human rights in the community and promote the values of justice, freedom and equality through public awareness programs and the defense of the victims of the violations and to be a leading human rights organization in the Kingdom

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