Tough guidelines for minor marriage hailed

Updated 06 March 2013
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Tough guidelines for minor marriage hailed

Proposed guidelines from the Ministry of Interior could make it tougher for girls below 16 to get married.
Fahd Al-Bakran, a spokesman for the ministry, said the strict recommendations were submitted to the Council of of Senior Islamic Scholars.
The ministry recommends that guardians of girls under 16 must apply to a judge in a special court to obtain a waiver to marry them off.
In addition, a female obstetrician/gynecologist, a psychiatrist and social worker must submit a signed medical report.
The Interior Ministry also recommends that evidence be given that the girl is mentally and physically mature. The girl also must consent to the marriage and have permission from her mother. Only the judge can grant the waiver to marry.
“There are no more than six cases (of teenage girls marriage requests),” Al-Bakran said. “The Ministry of Justice, however, believes that even with the limited number of the cases, the current situation is disturbing.”
Mona Al-Munajjed, a sociologist and an adviser on women and gender issues, supports the Ministry of Justice’s efforts to limit child marriages because it’s a healthy step that will positively affect Saudi society.
“Experts refer to these girls as child brides precisely because they are still children and they have not developed fully in their physical, emotional and psychological capacities,” Al-Munajjed said. “Marriage is a serious endeavor that entails many responsibilities that these children still do not fully comprehend, including relations with an older husband, giving birth and raising children.”
Wafal Al-Shammari, a social worker at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said young girls are not ready for marriage.
“The marriage of girls under 16 is an injustice to girls and has severe and far-reaching negative consequences to society,” Al-Shammari said.
“Girls below 19 have still not reached maturity in terms of completing their mental and emotional growth. Underage girls are not prepared to assume the burdens and huge responsibilities of marriage and this can lead to divorce, illiteracy, premature pregnancy and the disruption of the family unit, among many other problems.”


Saudi cabinet refuses politicization of Khashoggi murder in Istanbul

Updated 2 min 6 sec ago
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Saudi cabinet refuses politicization of Khashoggi murder in Istanbul

  • King Salman chaired a weekly Cabinet session in Tabuk on Tuesday

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's Cabinet has rejected the politicization of the murder of Saudi citizen and journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month.

The announcement came following a weekly Cabinet session, chaired by King Salman in Tabuk on Tuesday.

In statements to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Information Minister Dr. Awwad bin Saleh al-Awwad said the ministers expressed gratitude to friendly and fraternal nations and organizations for their welcoming of the General Prosecution's statement on the findings in Khashoggi's murder.

Al-Awwad hailed them for refusing to politicize this humanitarian affair that has been referred to the Saudi judiciary and which will issue verdicts against the suspects.

In a speech addressing the Kingdom’s council of ministers, King Salman briefed them on the details of a written message that he delivered earlier this week to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah.

King Salman also briefed them on the discussions he held on Sunday with visiting Iraqi President Barham Salih, following a meeting in Riyadh, where they discussed bilateral ties and ways of developing them in various fields.

The attending ministers hailed King Salman’s remarks on Saudi internal and foreign policy, as well as his pride in the comprehensive development witnessed in the Kingdom in line with its Vision 2030.

On Yemen, the Cabinet praised Saudi Arabia and the UAE for launching a $500 million initiative to address the humanitarian situation in the war-torn country.

They also announced that the Kingdom and the UAE will launch another initiative for food security that will reach 10-12 million Yemenis.

Al-Awwad pointed out that the Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom's affirmation during an emergency Arab League meeting at the level of Permanent Representatives in Cairo, condemning the Israeli violations in Gaza, based on its permanent stance towards the Palestinian cause. It reaffirmed its solidarity with the Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate historic rights.

Finally, the Saudi Information minister said that the Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding between Saudi Arabia and Turkey on cooperation in the housing sector.