JEDDAH: Saudi women will have to reveal their faces for security checks before male inspectors if needed, according to a decision made by the Shoura Council on Sunday.
This follows the council’s rejection of a recommendation made by the council’s security committee advising that women do not need to reveal their faces at security checks manned by male officers, as a means of preserving Saudi customs regarding women.
“Essentially the special status of Saudi women is safeguarded in the provisions of other recommendations. The Saudi society is conservative in nature, and no one will force a woman to reveal her face against the provisions of our society,” member of the Education and Research Committee, Abdul Rahman Al-Anad said.
The security committee’s recommendations also suggested employing female officers to be solely in charge of inspecting women, and in the absence of female officers, using fingerprint technology.
The council approved the recommendation issued by the security committee demanding that Saudi women should possess their own national identity cards, Assistant Chairman of the Shoura Council Fahhad Al-Hamad said in a statement.
One of the clauses of the recommendations is an amendment to the 67th clause of the Civil Status Regulations (Royal order No. 7/M of the 22/12/ 1986.) The amended version stipulates that any Saudi citizen who is 15 years old and above must have a separate national identity card.
The second recommendation asserts that a Saudi woman should acquire a national identity card in a phased manner, but within a period of not more than seven years. After that period, the national identity card will be the only document to establish a woman’s identity.
Furthermore, the Interior Minister will be authorized to implement a plan to issue ID cards for Saudi women. The plan will start by ensuring the ID card is mandatory for university admissions, job recruitment, registering for social insurance benefits and passport applications.
Another recommendation suggested by the council’s security committee was to establish female sections in all civil status offices.
The council also made a number of other decisions at its Sunday meeting, including the decision to take more solid steps toward ensuring the availability of plots for the construction of court buildings.