Host Government Regulations on Holding Events within and outside the Embassy
Advisory No. 184 – 2012
2 December 2012
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh informs all community organizations and Filipinos in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on existing procedures, rules and regulations on holding of cultural, community, sports and other activities at the Embassy premises and other places in the Kingdom as prescribed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SMFA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its circulars to all Embassies.
The Embassy is required to seek approval for activities and programs to be held at the Embassy premises from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In February 2011, the Saudi MFA disapproved the Embassy’s request for approval/permit to hold an event organized by a registered Filipino community organization. The SMFA had considered this activity a violation of Saudi rules, customs and tradition, and a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested the Embassy to stop holding such activities.
In December 2011, SMFA approved the request of one of one community organization, which complied with its requirements.
The Embassy stresses that it is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and not the Embassy that issues permits and approvals to hold activities at the Embassy premises. According to the MFA, organizers that hold activities outside the Embassy should secure a permit from the Office of the Emir of the region by the organizers and not the Embassy.
The Saudi MFA had informed all foreign Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations that holding of activities for monetary considerations and serving alcoholic beverages during the events are considered violations of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Saudi rules and regulations, particularly provisions of Section 41 of the Convention which states that:
“1. Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State.
“2. All official business with the receiving State entrusted to the mission by the sending State shall be conducted with or through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the receiving State or such other ministry as may be agreed.
“3. The premises of the mission must not be used in any manner incompatible with the functions of the mission as laid down in the present Convention or by other rules of general international law or by any special agreement in force between the sending State and the receiving State.”
The Philippine Embassy requests the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for permits to hold activities at the Embassy premises by Filipino community organizations after compliance with the SMFA’s requirements.
The MFA also circulated requirements, rules and regulations for the holding of art exhibitions, symposia, cultural lectures, training programs and workshops, exhibitions, educational symposia, poetical evenings, concert and charity bazaars in cooperation with Diplomatic Missions or International Organizations and institutions or cooperative and charitable associations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The requirements are:
Requests of Diplomatic Missions or International Organizations must be filed with SMFA at least two (2) months before the holding of the said events and the following should be included in the request:
- Venue of the event
- Event program
- Date of the event
- Period of the event
- Name of person to open the event or under his auspices
- Type of event
Additional requirements to be enclosed for:
Lecture or Cultural Seminar or Educational Program:
- Title and profile of the event.
- Names of official sponsors together with civil registry numbers for Saudi citizens; residence permits (iqama) for expatriates/residents and passports for invited guests coming from abroad.
Fine Arts or Photo Exhibitions:
- Names of sponsors together with civil registry numbers for Saudi citizens; residence permit (iqama) for expatriates/residents and passports for invited guests coming from abroad.
- Clear photographs of the artworks.
- If photographs could not be attached, the Embassy will inform the SMFA of the location of the Artworks for viewing by concerned authorities.
Concert Party for National Day and Cultural Celebration:
- Names of masters of ceremonies together with civil registry numbers for Saudi citizens; residence permits (iqama) for expatriates/residents and passports for invited guests coming from abroad.
- Names of poets together with civil registry numbers for Saudi citizens; residence permit (iqama) for expatriates/residents and passports for invited poets coming from abroad.
Charity Exhibition or Promotion/Advertisement of Products with Activities Open to Public:
- Local laws apply.
- To be coordinated with concerned authorities
- Dates and times for males and females visitors shall be specifically separated.
- Collection of contributions during the exhibitions is prohibited.
Special Concert or Theatrical Show (Not for National Day):
- Rules and regulations apply.
- It should be held at the Embassy or International Organization’s premises.
- Commercial activities are prohibited.
Activities to be held outside the Embassy premises:
- Organizers should secure permit from the local Governor’s office (Emarah).
- Rules and regulations apply.
- Venue must be at the hotels and/or public cultural centers.
- Program of the activity should not beyond 12:00 midnight.
Conditions for the invitations for women and students by Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations in any activities are:
- Women must have chaperon, e.g. husband, brother, uncle and/or son.
- Male and female students of public and private universities shall not be invited to activities to be held inside the Diplomatic and International Organizations’ premises.
Workshop trainings and symposia for universities and foreign colleges in the private and foreign schools in the Kingdom shall be held at the Saudi Ministry of Education designated venues.
Holding of activities and events should observe the following:
- Not to engage in political, religious and security matters that will lead to public unrest and breach public order.
- Selling tickets to the public is strictly prohibited.
- No collection of charity funds of any kind.
- Alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited to be served.
The application form for holding events and activities is available at the Embassy, along with the official communications from the host government on these matters. These are available for viewing at the Embassy for interested parties.
The above rules are being implemented as required by the host government.