By Mick Krever, CNN
Saudi Arabia is responding to a damning new United Nations reports, listing a catalogue of human rights abuses in their country.
“We have very significant changes, real [changes] happening in Saudi Arabia,” Deputy Labor Minister Ahmad al-Fahaid told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.
The U.N. made 225 recommendations on a range of issues, including the rights of migrant workers as well as freedom of expression and the death penalty.
Saudi Arabia insists it is making progress, but admits there is still a long way to go, particularly in the realm of women's rights and on child marriages, with no minimum legal age set so far.
“Women issue is very important, and in fact we are tackling it from two different angles,” al-Fahaid said. “The first one is about, you know, education background, educational view. The second, which is very important, is that economically, also empowerment.”
“We are trying our best to find…suitable and decent jobs for our women.”
Meanwhile, Saudi women are still barred from driving.
In an interview with Amanpour in 2012, Saudi activist Manal al-Sharif made her plea.
“We want to be full citizens,” she said. “I'm educated. I have a job…I should be trusted to drive my own car.”
“We are looking at this very carefully,” al-Fahaif said. “I mean, it's a culture.”
The government’s priority right now, he said, is economic and educational empowerment of women.
“Whenever we made any commitment, we stick to it, and we implement it,” he said. “We will see a lot of fruitful changes in the near future.”