10 December – Human Rights Day: “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All’
The world celebrates Human Rights Day annually on December 10, to recall the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which includes articles defining human rights and fundamental freedoms that should be enjoyed by any person in the world, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
According to the United Nations, this year’s theme for Human Rights Day is “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All’ and the call to action is #StandUp4HumanRights.
The Omani government continues to violate many basic human rights in its laws, particularly discriminating against Omani women, migrant workers, freedom of expression, freedom of the media, and freedom of religion and belief.
Omani women are subjected to discrimination as they are deprived of many rights, such as the right to protection from violence, marital rape and child marriage, the right to freedom of movement, and the right to pass on nationality, divorce, and abortion. Also, no woman has been allowed to take up the post of judge
Migrant Workers: Domestic workers and migrant workers under the kafala system are vulnerable to abuse and denied government protection. Oman has not signed the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Migrant workers face many difficulties and lack many basic rights, leaving them vulnerable to harsh and degrading treatment, and restrictions on freedom of movement. Foreign workers cannot leave the country without permission from their employer.
Housemaids in Oman suffer a variety of abuses, such as having their passports withheld to ensure they do not run away; being subjected to physical, verbal and sexual violence; having to work long hours for meagre pay seven days a week, with no fixed day off; finding themselves transferred from one Omani sponsor to another without being consulted or having their freedom of movement violated by being forbidden to leave the house.
Freedom of expression: In addition to criminalizing peaceful assembly and the use of violence and tear gas to disperse demonstrators, the (OCHR) has monitored and documented many cases of arresting citizens because of tweets or posts on social media, which seems to be on the rise in recent times. Some of these detainees, women and men, because of the pledges they signed, closed their accounts or stopped publishing, which is a procedure the Omani government has been using increasingly. Some detains have been banned from travelling. Many of these cases included psychological and physical torture of the detainees and depriving them of their basic visitation rights.
Freedom of Media: In Oman, journalism is seen as a profession that is fraught with the risk of arrest, dismissal from work or loss of employment. Criticising the regime, the authorities or the head of the political hierarchy inevitably has legal consequences, usually ending in prison. According to the reports and information from journalists and bloggers that periodically reach the Omani Centre for Human Rights (OCHR), the authorities typically call in for questioning anyone who publishes a report or opinion criticising the government’s actions or the political system in Oman. Omani law contains numerous provisions and regulations that threaten or constrain journalists and media professionals such as Articles (97), (102), (108), and (115) of the Omani Penal Code, and Article 26 of the Press and Publications Law.
Freedom of religion and belief: In Oman, the problem is not just the refusal of a large segment of the population to accept any divergence from the prevailing way of thinking, such as atheism or even minority sects, but also the way influential religious figures agitate against intellectual and religious freedom, and the absence of laws protecting freedom of religion and belief. In fact, the law itself violates these freedoms. For example, Article (269), (248), and (277) of the Omani Penal Code.
On this occasion, The Omani Centre for Human Rights calls for serious action to protect women from all forms of discrimination and work towards a safer and more just society, to stop using its power to prosecute and harass people for expressing their religious beliefs, to stop censoring media professionals, allow a free media, and protect migrant workers, being the very vulnerable segment of society.
 Human Rights Day | United Nations