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Saudi Arabia to end travel restrictions for women

Royal decree permits women in Saudi Arabia to travel without permission
Royal decree permits women in Saudi Arabia to travel without permission

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have put an end to travel restrictions for women, after ending the ban on women driving cars last year.

Saudi Arabia has started implementing the amendments in the royal decree that allowed women above the age of 21 to travel without the consent of a male guardian. This comes after human rights activists mounted pressure on Riyadh over its archaic laws. Activists have repeatedly condemned the laws which treat women in an unacceptable manner. Women are required to seek consent of a male guardian before taking any major decision, regardless of their age.

“The passports and civil status departments and their branches in all regions of the kingdom have started to implement the amendments stipulated in the royal decree,” according to the Saudi Press Agency.

A series of royal decrees brought forward by King Salman earlier this month attempted to quash obsolete laws and bring amends to reduce restrictions on women. With these regulatory changes, passports can be issued to any Saudi national who applies for it and women above the age of 21 do not need permission before travelling.

Some of the other changes allow women to register a marriage, divorce, or child’s birth. With this decree, women can now be issued official family documents. It also states that a father or mother can be the legal guardian of a child.

As per reports, more than 1,000 women had departed from Saudi Arabia on August 19 without the permission of a male guardian, after the new rules were implemented. The amends have significantly altered the reality of Saudi women and paved the way for further improvements.

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