A Saudi-led coalition has announced a new law which will allow for employers to choose which Arabic language is used for a job application.
The new law, approved by the Saudi Council of Ministers in October, allows employers to pick any Arabic language from the list of “approved” languages.
It was passed amid a wave of protests and demonstrations in Saudi Arabia in early 2016 over the implementation of the kingdom’s strict religious dress code, which restricts women’s attire and restricts men from wearing any kind of visible expression.
The law allows employers, who are looking for workers, to choose Arabic language and religion as well as their nationality.
It is a new way of enforcing the strict dress code which has resulted in the widespread abuse of the dress code in Saudi and other Gulf Arab countries, according to Human Rights Watch.
Saudi Arabia’s government has not publicly commented on the law.
It’s a clear violation of the rights of workers and citizens, Human Rights and Labor Rights Watch said in a statement.
The kingdom has also recently banned female students from attending universities in the kingdom, saying that the ban would force women to go abroad for the sake of their education.
The draft law, titled the Saudi Qur’an Act, will require employers to give workers the choice of either Arabic or English.
It does not require them to show proof of their employment to prove their job is Arabic or to provide proof of nationality, Human Right Watch said.
It also says employers will be allowed to hire only women and students with a certificate from a recognized religion, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), Human Rights watch said.
The measure has been criticized by rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights First, for limiting workers’ freedom of association, including for free speech and freedom of expression.
In a statement, the National Labor Council, the largest union representing Saudi Arabia workers, said that employers “should not be allowed arbitrarily to discriminate on the basis of religion and nationality, especially when they are already subject to restrictions by the kingdom.”
“The government’s law could prevent workers from speaking out about their grievances against the regime and undermine public trust in the state,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, deputy Middle East director at Amnesty International.
The council of ministers, which is led by King Salman, is the ruling Saudi royal family’s governing body.
The government has been in the spotlight since early 2016 when a wave.
In early March, thousands of Saudi women, including some students, took to the streets in the capital Riyadh, protesting the country’s strict dress codes.
Women have been jailed, and other women, mostly in their 20s, have been stripped of their citizenship for wearing loose clothing and carrying small children.
The country’s unemployment rate stood at 10 percent in early March.
A large part of the protest was held in front of the Kingdom’s national stadium, which the kingdom uses to stage major sporting events.
Saudi women have been barred from attending university in Saudi cities and universities.
Amnesty International called on the Saudi government to end this “barbaric” system of restrictions.
“The law could help bring some relief to Saudi women and their families who have suffered as a result of the Saudi-government’s discriminatory dress code and restrict their freedom of choice, especially in the areas of education, employment, and social interaction,” Whitsons said.
“Saudi Arabia’s authorities must respect the rights and dignity of its citizens by respecting their rights and freedoms, and the draft law could be a first step toward that end.”