[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Saturday in a new report on Saudi Arabia [JURIST news archive] that respect for human rights in the Kingdom seemed to be improving but violations and abuses persisted. The report [text] detailed the existence of unfair trial, the detention of children and the habitual oppression of women and foreign laborers within the Middle Eastern kingdom. HRW was invited to Saudi Arabia in December to conduct a four week mission on the country's progress in the area of human and civil rights.
Although the 13 person group operated under 24-hour surveillance and was denied access to certain jails and judicial proceedings, HRW executive leader Kenneth Roth noted the Saudi government seemed to share a more open view on the value of human rights. However, the government's unwillingness to allow unfettered access to the prisons and trials does give the appeareance the Saudi government "still has much to hide," according to Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW director for the Middle East and North Africa. AP has more.