GENEVA - News that Saudi women can now apply for passports and travel without the permission of male guardians, has been welcomed by independent UN human rights experts, who cautioned that women in the country “continue to face numerous restrictions”.

Saudi women will be able to apply for passports. Those over 21 will be allowed to travel independently – without permission from their so-called guardians – by the end of this month.

According to news reports, human rights advocates have welcomed the move, but have also noted that women still require the permission of a male relative to marry, or leave women’s shelters, and some rights activists remain on trial or in detention for campaigning to change the system.