Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

First Saudi Women Get Driving Licenses

A Saudi Arabian woman shows her new driver license issued on Monday June 4 A Saudi Arabian woman shows her new driver license issued on Monday June 4
Faye Gross | 05 June, 2018, 16:04

Ten Saudi women were issued driver's licenses by the government of Saudi Arabia on Monday, according to a news release from the country's Ministry of Media.

On Monday, the kingdom's general traffic directorate starting replacing internationally driving licenses held by women with Saudi ones throughout the country.

"The general directorate of traffic started replacing worldwide driving licences recognised in the kingdom with Saudi licences", it added.

The licensing is part of the preparations with authorities saying last month that Saudi women would be able to start driving in the kingdom by June 24.

The first 10 women took a brief driving test before receiving a license, as they'd already held licenses to drive in other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Lebanon.

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"Thousands of congratulations to the daughters of the homeland, being issued the first license in Saudi Arabia", a tweet by @saudalzmanan read.

The move comes as multiple Saudi women's rights activists remain under arrest for their protests campaigning for the right to drive. Saudi Arabia's prosecutor said on Sunday that 17 people had been detained in recent weeks on suspicion of trying to undermine security and stability, a case activists said targeted prominent women's rights campaigners.

Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world where women could not drive due to a strict brand of Islamic law that also says that women should have a male guardian.

They now face a range of charges, including communicating with people and organizations hostile to the kingdom and providing financial and moral support to hostile elements overseas. The issuance of the licences means that for the first time in more than 50 years, women will be able to drive legally in Saudi Arabia. Reuters reported in May that police arrested at least five people who protested the country's ban on women driving. They also warned women that they would be subjected to sexual harassment if they drove.

The Saudi Driving School, at Princess Nourah University, the first for women in the capital, was launched in partnership with the Emirates Driving Institute in Dubai, an established driving school in the region.

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