Members of the Saudi Shoura Council on Wednesday approved fresh regulations for minor marriages that will see to outlaw marrying off 15-year-old children and force the need for court approval for those under 18.
Chairman of the Human Rights Committee at the Shoura Council, Dr. Hadi Al-Yami, said that introduced controls were based on in-depth studies presented to the body. He pointed out that the regulation, vetted by the Islamic Affairs Committee at the Shoura Council, has raised the age of marriage to 18 and prohibited it for those under 15.
Wedlock for those within the 15-18 age group will be subject to regulations and must seek authorization by the judiciary, Yami explained.
He pointed out that the new regulations are meant to protect Saudi families and reduce the high rate of divorce, saying that “early marriage sometimes can cause health problems and increase the chances of divorce.”
Khalid al-Fakhri, a member of the National Society for Human Rights, said the mentioned stipulations are “in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child signed by Saudi Arabia and with the country's child protection system that specifies marriage contracts including those aged less than 18, which need to take place at a specialized court.”
Legal aid Mohammed al-Wahibi confirmed that early marriage is one of the prominent factors leading to a spike in divorce rates, since the individuals entering the union, whether it be the female or male, do so with a minimal understanding on the responsibilities entailed.