Saudi Arabia through its Ministry of Justice has prohibited marriage of persons under 18 years while setting 18 years as the minimum age for marriage.
Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Sheikh Dr. Walid Al-Samaani issued a circular to all courts in the country stressing the banning of marriage for persons under 18 years.
All such requests are to be referred to the specialized court to complete the formalities in line with the Child Protection Law and while implementing the established regulations.
Al-Samaani’s directives are based on paragraph (16/3) of the executive regulations of the Child Protection Law, which says “before conducting marriage contracts one has to make sure that marrying a person under the age of 18 will not harm him or her and achieve their best interests, male or female.”
Before now, child marriages are commonplace in Saudi Arabia with one in seven girls marrying before the age of 18.
In January, the country approved regulations that prohibit marriage for children under 15 years of age. The ban followed a ruling by the kingdom’s Shura Council, which saw two-thirds of the advisory body vote in favour, according to Arab News.
Even though a great step, the new regulations had a few loopholes. It allowed for teens under the age of 18 to tie the knot, if granted approval from a specialised court.
This ruling has however, put a full stop to the marriage of persons under 18 years with clear cut penalties for defaulters.
Source: Saudi Gazette, premiumtimesng.com