Between 2015 and 2017 I invested my valuable time intensively fighting for Kenyan domestic workers facing human rights oppression in the Middle East especially Saudi Arabia. During this time period, I learned a lot about this country's strange culture. Women are treated harshly like "2nd class citizens". There are a lot of restrictions on what they can do or not; a simple task like driving is prohibited! I recall posting back in 2015 on my Facebook page " No situation is PERMANENT! " in response to the killings of innocent Kenyan domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.
Today I received a CNN push notification on my mobile device reading "Women in Saudi Arabia now allowed to drive." Yes, June 24th will go into history books as the day when women in Saudi Arabia can hit the highway and drive on their own! This came after a royal decree from the crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman last September which enabled women to obtain driving licenses. The 1st licenses were issued early this month and about 2,000 female drivers now have official permits to get behind the wheels.
The flip side of this story is that the rights activists who spearheaded the campaign to end the driving ban are still locked up behind bars facing up to 20 years jail sentences e.g prominent activist Loujain-al-Hathloul while others were forced to flee the country. There are calls from the Human Rights Watch organization to unconditionally release those detained. Sarah Leah Whitson who is the Director of the Middle East Human Rights Watch said: "There can no be real celebration on June 24 while the women who campaigned for the right to drive and their supporters remain behind bars."