The Registration Journey of Adala Center for Human Rights
Adala Center for Human Rights (ACHR) is a civil organization that is concerned with supporting and spreading the Human Rights’ culture across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). It was formed by a group of legal activists during the annual commemoration of the declaration of Human Rights on the 10th of December 2011, which is equivalent to 15th of Muharram 1433 Hijri.
The center is considered to be one of first civil society organizations that works in the field of Human Rights and serves to do so in an official manner, where it depends on reaching justice and application of rights in accordance to international law of Human Rights, the international humanitarian law, and what relates to them from declarations, concepts, standards, recommendations, explanations, in addition to regional charters, systems, and local Saudi legislations that deal with Human Rights.
The founding members of the center have presented a registration application for official Saudi sides to ease its job in spreading rights’ culture, monitoring, and documenting human rights claims, as well as supporting and helping victims of violations.
On 18th of December 2011, 9/1/1433 Hijri, the center received a letter from the Ministry of Social Affairs with a rejection of the application, because of what it considered a incompatibility between the goals of the center and the list of organizations and charity institutions.
The center proposed a verdict for the mentioned Ministry on 31/12/2011, 6/2/1433 Hijri, that the decision of rejection was not on a true legal nor systematic basis. The reply came on 6/2/2012, 14/3/1433 Hijri, with another rejection from the Ministry where it considered the proposal of foundation does not comply with the list of organizations and charity institutions.
On 21/4/2012, 29/5/1433 Hijri, the members of the center came with a legal claim at the administrative tribunal against the Ministry of Social Affairs to cancel the latter’s decision, where the first appointment for the trial was placed on 21/5/2012, 30/6/1433 Hijri, at the tribunal’s center in the Eastern province; and a there was a request from the Ministry’s representative to be given a legal postponement, in excuse that the case’s documents arrived late.
Another appointment for a second session of the trial was placed on 18/6/2012, 28/7/1433 Hijri, where the Ministry’s representative presented a reply warrant to the center’s claim and it included a rejection due to the tardiness of the center to sue the Ministry, which is over 60 days, and it is the time period that the center had to sue to Ministry after the act of rejection for its proposal. The Ministry also replied that it is not specialized with giving permissions to rights center, and that is in the field of profession of the Human Rights Committee, as well as that “Adala” demands to establish a center and not an NGO, thus basing his nature to the list of charity institutes is not valid, thus the lawyer of Adala center demanded legal time limit to reply.
During the third session on 16/7/2012, 16/10/1433 Hijri, Adala Center’s lawyer prepared replies for the points the Ministry has mentioned in the previous session, however, the Ministry’s representative did not attend the session, thus another appointment was set.
In the fourth session on 3/9/2012, 16/10/1433 Hijri, the center gave the Ministry’s representative a memorandum that includes the center’s reply to the predicament that the Ministry’s representative has aroused, where the Ministry did not submit its decision formally to the center within the legal 60 days, and that the case was given to the administrative tribunal within the permitted time limit from the date of the decision. The reply brief also sorted what Ministry tackled that Adala is a center and not an NGO, by mentioned a number of authorized centers from the Ministry of Social Affairs such as Prince Salman’s Social Center and Prince Salman’s Center for Kidney Ailments, which was considered by Adala center as circumvention on the name. The reply also considered that the Ministry’s reply on licensing the center in the field of Human Rights is invalid, since the committee’s system does not include giving licenses to centers and organizations.
In the fifth session on 14/10/2012, 18/11/2012 Hijri, the lawyer of the Ministry of Social Affairs did not attend for the second time after missing the third session, thus the appointment was postponed.
A sixth session was conducted on 5/11/2012, 20/12/1433 Hijri, the representative of the Ministry presented a reply brief to the one of the center given during the 4th session, where it held on to the rejection of the claim to the reason of legal time limit. The center’s lawyer did not give proxies for all founding members. Yet from an objective side, the Ministry’s representative that the center’s goals are not related to the ones of charity institutions and what is related with the profession of law and lawyers is referenced at the Ministry of Justice, though the center did not tackle legal issues, or what relates to it, in any of its speeches. It also added that the center’s goals are solely rights-related and not to charity work, and based on that, the authority of Human Rights is for the committee of human rights and not the Ministry of Social Affairs. In reply to this brief, the center’s lawyer, Mr. Taha el Haji, said that Ministry’s brief has nothing new in it and it’s repetitive to what was mentioned before. At the closure of the session, the judge decided to lock the pleading’s door and postpone the case for further studying while placing a date for judgment.
At the seventh session that was held on 26/11/2012, 12/1/1434 Hijri, which was supposedly to be the session of final judgment by the judge. The latter posed several questions to the Ministry’s representative, and asked him to give proof of the date when that Adala center has received the rejection letter, in addition to setting the goals that he claimed that do not comply with the list of charity institutes with a clear and detailed form.
The eighth session was conducted on Monday 24/12/2012, 11/2/1434 Hijri, where the representative of the Ministry of Social Affairs attended and did not present the expected reply, yet he requested more time for the response. And in accordance, the administrative tribunal gave the representative a final respite.
The ninth session was held on Monday 14/1/2013, 2/3/1434 Hijri, the Ministry’s representative presented a reply brief where he requested a reply respite from the center’s lawyer, and thus the session was postponed.
The tenth session on Monday 14/2/2013, 1/4/1434 Hijri, the Minsitry’s representative did not attend and that would mark the third absence since the claim started, thus another appointment was set.
On Monday 11/3/2013, 29/4/1434 Hijri, the eleventh session was conducted and the center’s lawyer presented a reply brief to what the Ministry’s representative has said during the ninth session, and the Ministry’s representative requested a reply respite and it was accepted.
At the twelfth session on Monday 15/4/2013, 5/6/1434 Hijri, the Ministry’s representative presented a brief repeating what he mentioned before and did not add anything new to it. The center’s lawyer settled to what was presented before by him with no further responses, and in according to that, the judge decided to close the door for pleading and placed a date for verdict.
A thirteenth session was conducted on Monday 27/5/2013, 17/7/1434 Hijri, where the verdict rejected the claim and placed Monday 10/6/2013, 1/8/1434 Hijri, a date to receive the verdict’s deed.