Unemployed Saudis Team Up to Lobby for Rights

Posted on August 8, 2007

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Ebtihal Mubarak, Arab News

JEDDAH, 8 August 2007 — A group of 48 Saudis have come together to establish a society for unemployed Saudis that would lobby for their rights in securing jobs. The group, in its first move since its inception, recently wrote a letter to the labor minister in Riyadh asking for support.

The brain behind the group, which is called “Rights Without Borders for All Unemployed Saudis,” is college-graduate Nawala Al-Yousif from Sehat, a small town in the Eastern Province. Al-Yousif, who is in her mid-30s, has herself been unable to find a stable job for years and so decided to establish the society by posting an announcement about it on her website Saudiyatnet.net, an Internet news portal dedicated to Saudis. […]

In its letter to the minister of labor, the group asked the government to provide more aid to the Saudi unemployed. “As citizens of this country we must come first and benefit from the resources of our country,” Al-Yousif said.

In a statement posted on Saudiyatnet.net, the group said that the government should either provide the unemployed with jobs, or give them monthly allowances depending on the person’s educational status: SR2,000 for those who have less than a high school education, SR2,500 for high school graduates and SR3,000 for college graduates. “We’ve also asked for an immediate one-off payment of SR7,000 to poor families whose guardians are unemployed,” said Al-Yousif.

Last month the Shoura Council rejected a proposal to provide allowances to unemployed Saudis. Sixty-four Shoura members voted in favor of the proposal while 38 rejected it. According to the Shoura Council law, at least 76 Shoura members must sign a decision in order to pass it.

Many Saudis are faced with unemployment. Najla Al-Ibrahimi, who has been jobless for 12 years, spoke in the live television program “Al-Majlas” on the Al-Ekhbariya Saudi channel last week. She said that although she graduated from a governmental institute that promised jobs after graduation, she remained unemployed. [more]

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