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
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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.


Saudi Arabia says halt in arms sales will embolden Iran

Updated 20 June 2019
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Saudi Arabia says halt in arms sales will embolden Iran

  • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir was speaking after UK suspended issuing new licenses for weapons sales to the Kingdom in response to a court ruling
  • UK government disagrees with the judgement and will seek permission to appeal

LONDON: Halting weapons sales to Saudi Arabia will only benefit Iran, Adel Al-Jubeir said Wednesday, after the British government announced it would suspend issuing new licenses for the sale of arms to the Kingdom.

The UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox announced the decision in parliament after a court ordered the government to “reconsider” the sales because of their humanitarian impact in Yemen.

Fox said he disagreed with the judgement and would seek permission to appeal.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said the deployment of weapons in Yemen was legitimate.

“The decision by the court in the UK has to do with procedures for licensing, not any wrongdoing that took place,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters in London.

“The coalition is an ally of the West and the coalition is fighting a legitimate war at the behest of a legitimate government to stop Iran and its proxies from taking over a strategically important country - so the only beneficiary of a cut-off of weapons to the coalition is going to be Iran.”

The court ruling does not halt Britain's arms exports but means the granting of new licences will be paused.

Leading British defence firm BAE Systems said it would continue to support the UK government “in providing equipment, support and training under government to government agreements between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia is part of the Arab coalition fighting to support the internationally recognized government in Yemen which was driven from the capital Sanaa in 2014 by Iran-backed militants.

Saudi Arabia accounted for 43 percent of Britain's global arms sales in the past decade, Reuters reported.

The legal action against the British government was brought by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

Meanwhilw, a State Department official said the US must stand with Saudi Arabia as a key security partner, when asked about the Thursday's court ruling in the UK.
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper said both the US and Britain had long-standing bilateral ties to Saudi Arabia.
"They are carrying a significant amount of equity to protect US interests and US persons, and it is incumbent upon us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners, especially when they are on the front line for our interests," he said.

*With Reuters