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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 04/16/2009, 00.00


    Saudi court confirms validity of marriage for eight-year-old girl

    Criticisms from UNICEF and the U.S. State Department. The Riyadh justice minister himself says that he wants to put an end to the arbitrary power of parents who arrange marriages for minor children, but does not mention any ban.

    Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - UNICEF, the U.S. State Department, and human rights groups are protesting over the sentence from the Saudi court of Unaiza, which has confirmed the validity of the marriage between an eight-year-old girl and a fifty-year-old man.

    The court confirmed that Islamic tradition allows girls to marry, on the condition that they not have sexual relations before puberty.

    In theory, the woman's consent is required for a marriage to be valid, but many officials who perform weddings do not feel it is necessary to ask for this.

    The question of the minimum age for marriage is extremely controversial in Islamic countries. Those who oppose setting one point out the fact that Mohammed himself took a nine-year-old girl as a wife. But women's movements and women in general see it as indirect human trafficking, in addition to its being the violation of a fundamental human right. This can even lead to the abandonment of the Islamic religion.

    This case, however, seems capable of providing a jolt to the system, partly because of the desire for the modernization of his country expressed by King Abdullah. If UNICEF has said that it is "deeply concerned" by the sentence of the Saudi court, asserting that child marriage is "a violation of that child's rights," and a spokesman for the State Department, Robert Wood, has called it "a clear and unacceptable violation of human rights," the Saudi justice minister himself, Mohamed al-Issa, has announced that he wants to "put an end to arbitrariness by parents and guardians in marrying off minor girls." The minister, however, did not mention a ban, but only the desire to "preserve the rights" of girls, and "end the negative aspects of underage girls' marriage."

    Behind marriages like these, in fact, in addition to tribal traditions, there is often economic trafficking, with actual "purchase" of child brides on the part of adult men. The practice, in fact, is present above all in the poorest areas of countries in the Arabian Peninsula, like Yemen.

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    See also

    10/09/2008 PAKISTAN
    Christian girl, kidnapped and converted by Muslims, returned to family
    The alleged conversion has been found to be invalid, because the girl is just 10 years old. But her sister, who was also kidnapped, has been judged to have married by her own will, because she is "more than 16 years old", although her relatives say she is only 13, and that they will appeal to the supreme court.

    24/03/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
    Religious police accused of torture by Saudi Society for Human Rights
    A report for the kingdom's highest advisory body confirms cases of abuse of power, mistreatment, harassment, and, in some cases, the death of people under arrest. The new head of the muttawa is asked to give precise guidelines to the members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

    07/03/2007 SAUDI ARABIA
    Saudi women discriminated against even in marriage with foreigners
    Even if granted the elusive visa, husband and children remain non nationals, guests in their own country. Instead it is the men who transmit citizenship to wife and children. Experts: nothing to do with Islamic law but with a mentality closedto basic women’s rights.

    11/03/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
    Prison, whipping for 75-year-old widow: her nephew brought her bread
    The poor woman is suspected of seducing two young men. She even risks being kicked out of the country. There are criticisms of abuse of power on the part of the religious police, who watch over the morality and behavior of citizens, gravely interfering in individuals' private lives.

    26/02/2009 YEMEN
    A "fatwa" against Yemeni law setting minimum age for marriage
    The norm sets the limit at the age of 17, but according to Islamic figures, this goes against Sharia, and therefore Parliament cannot legislate on the matter. Meanwhile, lawmakers have decided to delay by two years the political elections scheduled for April.

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