Saudi Arabia: The fight to end child marriage

 

 

An Indian groom puts vermilion, a traditional marriage symbol, on the forehead of his underage bride during a mass wedding outside Kolkata. India is one of 12 countries working with the UN to halt the forced marriage of children. (AFP)

NOOR NUGALI
Rawan Radwan
January 20, 2019

Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council has moved to abolish a practice that remains a hidden scandal in many parts of the world

Child marriage is a generations-old custom still practiced today around the world

RIYADH: When Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council voted on Jan. 11 to ban child marriage in the Kingdom, it joined a global movement seeking to end a practice that is harmful not just to girls’ health — child brides are more likely to experience domestic violence and die in childbirth — but also to their future, as they are less likely to remain in school.

According to UNICEF, the term “child marriage” is used to refer to both formal marriages and informal unions in which a girl or boy lives with a partner before the age of 18. An informal union is one in which a couple live together for some time, intending to have a lasting relationship, but do not have a formal civil or religious ceremony.

The Shoura Council banned child marriages 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.

Shoura Council member Dr. Hoda Al-Helaissi said the law is an important step in protecting children’s rights.
“The idea was to protect girls more than anything, but also young boys,” she 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.”

Al-Helaissi explained the reason behind the delay in approving the law. “The usual argument was that it took place in the days of the Prophet (Muhammad). But times have changed since the olden days, and we are not just talking about Islam. It was used as a bartering tool for (those in) poverty, where the fathers received dowries.

“Things are completely different now,” she said. “The law gives them the possibility of an education and future.”

more:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1438836/saudi-arabia

1 reply

  1. Just for information: The age of marriage and the age of the beginning of sexual activity should be the same for Muslims. Of course this is not the case in the rest of the world.

    Germany: ” the average age at which Germans — both boys and girls — first have sex is 16.2.”

    Average age means some younger some older. Not really close to 18.

    Just saying …

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