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The women of Saudi Arabia may have a chance of partaking in the London 2012 Olympics. Saudi Arabia is the last country to confirm the participation of women in the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee’s executive board has met with the Saudi Olympic officials and said in a statement that it was “confident that Saudi Arabia is working to include women athletes and officials at the Olympic Games in London.”
Qatar, Brunei, and Saudi Arabia’s Olympic team only consisted of all-male teams in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Progress has been made, and the women of Qatar and Brunei are planning to compete this year. “Saudi Arabia is the last to hold out, denying women and girls the ability to take part in sports,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“The clock is running out for Saudi women to join the games and for the international community to insist that the Saudi government allow women to participate.”
The Olympic Charter’s 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism has been considered violated by a statement made by Prince Nawwaf al-Faisal, the Saudi sports minister and head of the Saudi National Olympic Committee. He stated, “Female sports activity has not existed in the kingdom, and there is no move thereto in this regard. At present, we are not embracing any female Saudi participation in the Olympics.” The Human Rights Watch has made it clear that discrimination under the means of gender is not in consensus with the Olympic movement.
Women taking part in a sport outside of the Olympics is an issue in the country itself. The government bans Saudi girls from physical education classes in state schools. Women are unable to have access to sports facilities, and private gyms created by women have been shutdown because of allegations that they were unlicensed.
Discrimination among the women of Saudi Arabia is not unfamiliar in their own cultural day-to-day lives. Saudi Arabia is considered one of the most oppressed Arab countries. Saudi Arabia is ruled by King Fahd Bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud and is a dynastic monarchy. Patrolling the country are secular security forces and the Mutawwa’in, the religious police.
The government allows the forces to treat citizens as they choose, resulting in torturous treatment. Democracy does not exist in the country, and the people have no voice in government. Freedom of religion is exempt, and citizens have to be Muslim. Citizens of America viewing what other countries endure on a daily basis would appreciate the luxury of freedom.