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Saudi Arabia to set up independent human rights agency

[JURIST] Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah [Wikipedia backgrounder] approved government plans Monday to set up an "independent human rights commission" which would "protect human rights and spread awareness about them...in keeping with the provisions of Islamic law." The decision was made at a Cabinet meeting which was chaired by the King. This will be the second such agency in Saudi Arabia [JURIST news archive], with the country's first recognized human rights watchdog established in March 2004 as a private group. The country has taken steps towards the creation of a democratic government [JURIST report] but has frequently been accused of violating human rights. The kingdom has no elected parliament and international rights groups have criticized the country's lack of due process. AP has more.

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