Saudi justice minister vows action against underage marriages

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

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's KSrelief, GAVI to raise COVID-19 awareness among children

Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's KSrelief, GAVI to raise COVID-19 awareness among children

Saudi Arabia's KSrelief, GAVI to raise COVID-19 awareness among children

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) on Thursday.
According to the MoC, some of the winners of the Gamers Without Borders tournament, organized by the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), will donate a sum amounting to $1,339,500 to help children worldwide face the coronavirus pandemic through preventive and awareness-raising programs.
The deal was signed by KSrelief’s General Supervisor Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and GAVI’s Managing Director Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao.
As the body entrusted with delivering aid provided by the Kingdom to foreign bodies, KSrelief had already signed an MoC with SAFEIS to allocate the donation funds resulting from the organization of the Gamers Without Borders tournament, which amounted to $10 million, to international organizations and bodies concerned with combating COVID-19 worldwide.
“We have signed an MoC with an international organization that has historical relations with the Kingdom,” said Al-Rabeeah.
“In 2020, the world faced the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected and killed millions around the world, and has had dangerous and negative repercussions on international health systems and the global economy,” he added.
Saraka-Yao said: “This MoC will promote our ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, help those affected by the coronavirus and contribute to the prevention efforts.”