KSA's Shoura Council recommends banning marriages for girls under 15

Members of the Saudi Shoura Council want the Justice Ministry to ban marriages for girls under 15. (SPA file photo)
Updated 24 July 2017

KSA's Shoura Council recommends banning marriages for girls under 15

JEDDAH: Several Shoura Council members have sent a recommendation to the Justice Ministry saying that no girl under 15 should marry, according to sources quoted by Okaz Arabic newspaper.
The recommendation, drafted by Moodhy Al-Khalaf, Latifa Al-Shaalan, Noura Al-Musaed, Issa Al-Ghaith and Fawzya Aba Al-Khail, stressed the need to have strict conditions that would allow girls between 15 and 18 years old to marry.
Shoura members explained that these conditions include the approval of the mother and bride-to-be, as well as a medical report by a specialized committee stating the girl is physically, psychologically and socially able to wed. The age of the groom-to-be should not exceed double the girl’s age. The final condition is for the marriage contract to be officiated by a judge specialized in these marriages.
Shoura members explained that this recommendation falls within Shariah rules protecting human life from harm, explaining that it has been proved that minors’ marriages cause psychological, physical and social damages.
Members added that regulating marriages does not fall under worship and religious issues, but a life issue that is subject to change, highlighting that there are many Islamic countries that regulate ages for marriages, such as the Egyptian law that prevents any marriage if the girl is under 18 years of age.
The Shoura Council stressed that early marriages not only compromise health issues, but also cause women to drop out of school, which is the main repercussion of early marriage, leading Shoura members to stress the need to empower women via education and to change the traditional social and cultural roles that undermine them.
The relationship between poverty and early marriage is a multi-layered complicated cycle; not only is poverty one of the reasons behind early marriage, it also leads to the continuation of poverty, particularly when these young mothers become responsible for their families in case of divorce or the spouse’s death.
International treaties signed by the Kingdom prevent allowing minor girls to marry, including the 1988 UN Convention on the Rights of Children. The Kingdom signed the 1979 Convention to Eliminate all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which states in Article 16 that the engagement or marriage of children has no legal basis, and identifies the need to have a law that states a minimum age for marriage.

Photo exhibition recalls 90 years of Saudi-Lebanon ties

Updated 40 min 39 sec ago

Photo exhibition recalls 90 years of Saudi-Lebanon ties

  • Thousands of photos on display
  • Ties ‘rooted’ in history, says Kingdom’s ambassador

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari and Lebanon’s Minister of Information Minister of Information Jamal Jarrah on Monday inaugurated a photography exhibition celebrating 90 years of bilateral relations.

The King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives and the Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation provided the embassy in Lebanon with historical documents and photos for the exhibition, which was launched on World Photography Day. Some of the material dates back more than 90 years.

Bukhari said the exhibition’s content proved that the countries’ relations were rooted in history and recalled the words of King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman, who said: “Lebanon is part of us. I protect its independence myself and will not allow anything to harm it.”

Jarrah, who was representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, said: “We need this Arab embrace in light of the attacks targeting the Arab region and we still need the Kingdom’s support for Lebanon’s stability, because Lebanon is truly the center from which Arabism originated.”

The exhibition starts with a document appointing Mohammed Eid Al-Rawaf as the Kingdom’s consul in Syria and Lebanon. It was signed by King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Faisal Al-Saud in 1930 and states that the consul’s residence is in Damascus and that his mission is to “promote Saudi merchants, care for their affairs and assist them with their legal and commercial interests.”

Black and white pictures summarize milestones in the development of bilateral relations, while others depict key visits and meetings between leaders and dignitaries.

“The exhibition demanded great efforts because the pieces were not found at one single location,” former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told Arab News. “Circulating this activity in the Kingdom’s embassies in numerous countries is a great step and has pushed the Lebanese Ministry of Information to benefit from this archive. The Lebanese people remember the important positions the Kingdom has taken over the year to support their independence and sovereignty and in hard times.”

Lebanon, particularly Beirut, is a hit with Saudi travelers although the Kingdom had been advising citizens since 2011 to avoid the country, citing Hezbollah’s influence and instability from the war in neighboring Syria. 

But the easing of restrictions since February has led to a surge in Saudis heading to Lebanon.

Riyadh earlier this year released $1 billion in funding and pledged to boost Lebanon’s struggling economy. Another sign of warming ties was an anniversary event marking the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father that featured Saudi Royal Court adviser Nizar Al-Aloula as a keynote speaker.

“The exhibition highlights the unique model of Lebanese-Arab relations that should be taught in diplomatic institutes, starting with the Lebanese Foreign Ministry,” former minister Marwan Hamadeh told Arab News. “Over the course of 90 years, we have had brotherly ties and political support for independence, freedom, growth, economy and culture and then the Taif Accord (which ended the Lebanese Civil War). Even after that, when Lebanon engaged in military adventures, the Kingdom was there to help with reconstruction and we are proud of these relations.”

Highlights include a recording of King Faisal telling President Charles Helou about the need to strengthen “brotherhood in the face of the aggression targeting our countries without respecting the sanctity of holy sites and international, human and moral norms to extend its influence not only in the region but across the world.”

There are also photos from a recent meeting that brought together King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Lebanese officials. 

An old broadcast recording can be heard saying that the “tragedy of the Lebanese civil war can only be ended by affirming the Lebanese legitimacy and preserving its independence and territorial integrity.”

The exhibition is on at Beit Beirut, which is located on what used to be the frontline that divided the city during the civil war.