Minister of Commerce Osama Faqih delivering Kingdom's statement
|"We believe that the comprehensive concept of human rights should be based on the realization that human communities have special characteristics, cultures, beliefs and religions, which must be acknowledged and respected. The Kingdom respects this international norm and adheres to the noble objectives that call for the protection of human rights and preservation of human dignity."
to Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 3, 2002
In May 2003, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal announced King Fahd's approval for the establishment of an independent human rights organization in Saudi Arabia. In October 2003, the Kingdom held a human rights conference entitled ‘Human Rights in Peace and War’. The conference concluded with the issuance of the 'Riyadh Declaration' which states that respect for human life and dignity is the foundation of human rights; that a human being deserves respect, regardless of race, color or sex; that violation of human rights is a crime deserving severe punishment; that to hold a human being in custody without legal basis is forbidden by Islamic laws; that disregard for privacy and property rights is a violation of human rights; and that tolerance of faith is required by Islam, which also prohibits coercing people to follow a certain religion.