Saudi justice minister vows action against underage marriages

Saudi Justice Minister Dr. Walid bin Mohammed Al-Samaani. (SPA)
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Updated 24 December 2019

Saudi justice minister vows action against underage marriages

  • Matchmakers found flouting law to face music

RIYADH: Saudi Justice Minister Dr. Walid bin Mohammed Al-Samaani on Monday issued a memorandum to all courts and marriage officials to refrain from concluding any marriage contract for those under the age of 18.

The minister instructed the courts and officials to refer all such cases to the competent courts to take necessary legal measures in accordance with the Child Protection Law.
The executive regulations of the Child Protection Law stipulate: “Before the conclusion of the marriage contract, it is necessary to ensure that a person marrying under the age of 18 will not be harmed, whether male or female.”
The circular also stated that matchmakers found violating the rules will also be held accountable and would be referred to the ministry for necessary legal action.
Maha Al-Wabel, a Saudi opinion writer, said that stories of minor marriages are so painful.
“Minors face psychological damages and even more,” she said that in a tweet. The Saudi Shoura Council voted earlier this year to ban underage marriages in the Kingdom. The council imposed the ban for both genders with the approval of two-thirds of its members.
The law was eight years in the making, and was put before the council at least five times in last year’s council sessions. The members voted to approve regulations limiting marriages of those under 18 years of age and banning marriages involving children under 15 years of age. The law was effective immediately.

FASTFACTS

• The Saudi Shoura Council voted on Jan. 11 to ban underage marriages in the Kingdom.

• The council imposed the ban for both genders with the approval of two-thirds of its members.

Commenting on the passage of the law, Shoura Council member Dr. Hoda Al-Helaissi said: “You cannot expect a girl of 10 or 12 to understand what marital relations are, or for her body to correctly carry a baby. There are a lot of health issues involved.”
Child marriage is a generations-old custom still practiced today around the world in countries including India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia and Mexico. The custom has often gone unquestioned in such places since it has been part of communities’ lives and identities for a long time.
Child marriage is not just restricted to the developing world, however. It is legal — taking judicial exceptions into account — in 49 US states.
States often make exceptions to their minimum-age ruling if those below the age of 18 have parental consent, the approval of a judge, or are recognized as adults. And 25 states have no statutory minimum age for marriage to begin with, meaning that minors can legally marry other minors or adults.


Saudi Arabia reports 32 new COVID-19 deaths

Updated 03 August 2020

Saudi Arabia reports 32 new COVID-19 deaths

  • There have been a further 1,972 recoveries from COVID-19

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday announced 1,258 new coronavirus cases and 32 new deaths from the disease.
The new cases reported in the Kingdom increase the total number of people who have contracted the virus to 280,093. 

The recent fatalities raise the Kingdom’s virus-related death toll to 2,949. 

According to the Ministry of Health, 89 of the newly recorded cases were in Riyadh, while there were 75 reported in Al-Hufoof and 65 in Dammam.

There have been a further 1,972 recoveries from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries to 242,053.