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Saudi Arabian Authorities 'Temporarily Suspend' SMS Tracking Of Women

Saudi Arabian authorities have suspended a programme which enables the movements of women in and out of the country to be electronically tracked, the AFP reports.

It is illegal for Saudi women to travel abroad without male accompaniment and can only do so if their guardian agrees by signing a document know as the "yellow sheet" at an airport or border crossing.

Women's rights in Saudi Arabia are a contentious issue

On Tuesday the Arab News cited a spokesman for the Passports Department as saying: “The system has been suspended due to some observations and it will undergo amendment.”

Lt Col Ahmad Al Laheedan added the system could be reintroduced, with new options included.

He said: “In the past, they system included all the names that were registered. However, in the next phase it will be optional.

“The amendments seek to enhance the system to make it better and fulfil all its objectives.”

Activists have welcomed the move, but some question just what “optional” could mean under these circumstances.

Women’s rights are a contentious subject in the Gulf Kingdom which is governed by Sharia Law.

And it was only in 2011 that women were given the right to vote and run for office in municipal elections in 2015.