Saudi Arabia bans under 18 marriage

The Saudi Ministry of Justice on Tuesday December 22, announced that under 18 years marriage has been prohibition in the country.

According to reports, 18 years has been set as the minimum age for marriage, in Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Walid Al-Samaani, the Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, had issued the new directive in a circular sent to all the courts across the country.

Child marriages have always been common in Saudi Arabia as many young girls are often married off before the age of 18 but, Saudi Arabia’s justice minister has made the important change.

The minister directed that marriage requests are to be referred to the specialised court to complete the formalities in line with the Child Protection Law and while implementing the established regulations.

Mr Al-Samaani’s actions are based on the 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.”

This is not the first time the Saudi authorities would move to curtail and regulate underage marriages in the country.

Before now, the country approved regulations that prohibit marriage for children under 15 years of age.

However, the new regulation had a few loopholes as it allows teenagers under the age of 18 to tie the knot, if granted approval from a specialised court.

But the recent Tuesday’s ruling has put a majorly end to the marriage of persons under 18 years with clear cut penalties for offenders.

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