Oman took tangible steps to enhance human rights during 2020

Oman Wednesday 20/January/2021 21:40 PM
Oman took tangible steps to enhance human rights during 2020

Muscat: Oman Human Rights Commission has said that the Sultanate took tangible steps to foster human rights and preserve human dignity.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Commission pointed out that His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik issued a number of Royal decrees, the most important of which amends the Basic Law of the State and introduces new clauses offering more guarantee to human liberties, rights, human dignity and equality among citizens in terms of rights.

Other decrees restructured the State’s Administrative Apparatus to help meet the goals of Oman Vision 2040 and respond to the aspirations of citizens over the coming stage of development, said the statement.

Oman Human Rights Commission categorically refuted the report of Human Rights Watch on specific human rights issues, by joining more international agreements of relevance.

The statement indicates that the Sultanate joined three agreements in 2020 and that these agreements have had the power after being ratified. They were enshrined in Royal decrees, as follows:

Royal Decree No. 44/2020 ratifies the Sultanate’s joining the International Convention for Protection of All Persons From enforced Disappearance.

Royal Decree No. 45/2020 ratifies the Sultanate’s joining the International Convention Against Torture, Other Cruel, Inhuman or degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Royal Decree No. 46/2020 ratifies the Sultanate’s joining the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. As for the right to freedom of expression, Oman Human Rights Commission noted that it spotted no closure of any means of media during 2020.

The Oman Human Rights Commission said that it closely followed up the steps taken by the Government of the Sultanate towards guaranteeing the rights of residents and workers. It noted that expat workers were exempt from any fees or fines or any legal action pertinent to the expiry of their labour permits.

The Commission pointed out that it also followed up other procedures undertaken in favour of foreign workers and stated that it observed the amnesty granted to hundreds of foreign prisoners and their repatriation to their respective countries in special flights amid coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. This is in addition to offer free medication to residents in all governorates of the Sultanate, the Oman Human Rights statement said.

The statement expressed appreciation for the US Atlantic Council network’s commendation of the Sultanate’s plan to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. It also noted the World Health Organization’s commendation of the Sultanate’s use of technology to control Covied-19 pandemic and limits its spread among citizens and residents.

Oman Human Rights Commission said in its statement that it observed the Sultanate’s cancellation of the No Objection Certificate, which was a pre-requisite to any foreign worker wishing to move from one employer to another. The step secures foreign workers’ free access to any work in the market, said the statement.

About gender equality, the Commission said that it followed up the steps undertaken by the Government of the Sultanate, which joined the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Omani women are partners with men in the national building process, and this is further reaffirmed by the Basic Law of the State, said the statement of Oman Human Rights Commission.

 As for foreign domestic helpers, the Commission said it has been in touch with the departments tasked with protecting the rights of this segment, including Royal Oman Police and the National Committee for Control of Human Trafficking, among other departments.

In response to the report of Human Rights Watch on gay rights, Oman Human Rights Commission reasserted what it stated in the past that the Sultanate, like many other countries around the world, is governed by principles of religion, manners and social norms which ban such practices (homosexuality). It affirmed that such a behavior is rejected by society.

Yet, Oman Human Rights Commission reaffirmed its willingness to coordinate with Human Rights Watch and other human rights organisations to get or exchange any information and follow up international reports of relevance. It advised that information on Oman should be taken from reliable sources. -ONA