Thursday 21 September 2017

'Our government is supporting us' - Saudi student

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Allison Bray

Allison Bray

A young Saudi woman living in Ireland says she has no problem with her country being given a seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women - despite concerns over Saudi Arabia's human rights record with women.

Eman Aldweikh (26), who moved to Dublin from her home in Mecca to study pharmacy at UCD three years ago, said the controversy over Saudi Arabia's place on the commission was "expected".

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan was grilled in the Dáil yesterday over his refusal to say whether he was one of five European members who voted to allow the strictly Muslim country to be admitted to the commission, which promotes the rights of women worldwide.

But Ms Aldweikh said that thanks to her countrymen, she is able to study abroad as she is one of over a thousand Saudi students in Ireland granted scholarships through the King Abdullah Scholarship Fund.

"I don't know why it's such a big issue," she told the Irish Independent. "It's (admission to the commission) is good for us," she said.

The scholarship programme has allowed herself, her sisters and other female cousins the opportunity to study around the world and for that she is grateful, she added. "Our government supported us before (we left Saudi Arabia) and is still supporting us," she said.

"We represent our country in science, medicine and human rights around the world."

Irish Independent

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