[Obama presents US’s International Woman of Courage Award to Maha Al-Muneef in Riyadh]
Riyadh, (Ali Fayyaz): US President Barack Obama honored Saudi woman activist Maha Al-Muneef in Riyadh Saturday for playing an important role in drafting and advising on a law which protects women in the Kingdom from abuse and domestic violence.
It is the first time for such a law to be established in Saudi Arabia which defines and criminalizes domestic violence. Al-Muneef was honored with the US Secretary of State’s International Woman of Courage Award. As she was unable to attend the award ceremony in the US recently, she was presented the award during Obama’s visit to the Kingdom.
Al-Muneef, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases, stands among 10 women honored for bravery by the US State Department. She was the only Arab woman among the group to have received the International Women of Courage Award.
Al-Muneef is the Executive Director of Saudi Arabia’s National Family Safety Program (NFSP), the first organization in the Kingdom founded in 2005 to campaign against domestic violence in the Kingdom. NFSP has developed advocacy programs, reported on domestic violence and child abuse statistics in Saudi Arabia, and provided services for victims of abuse.
Recently, Al-Muneef said that domestic violence is a national security issue. She said that the security program against domestic violence is a true milestone in helping reduce the rate of abuse of Saudi women. She also callws for educating children on ways to protect themselves against sexual predators and ensuring that parents are aware of the danger signs and their children’s whereabouts at all times.
According to the recent statistics, a staggering 60 percent of women visit hospitals after suffering domestic violence and the number of cases being reported are on the increase.