Magazine article New Internationalist

Taken for a Bride

Magazine article New Internationalist

Taken for a Bride

Article excerpt

Despite rising criticism within Saudi Arabia of the practice of child bride marriages, in April a Saudi judge upheld for a second time the arranged marriage between an eight-year-old girl and a 47-yearold man. The head of the United Nations Children's Fund, Ann Veneman, voiced her concern at the ruling, saying that 'irrespective of circumstances or the legal framework, the marriage of a child is a violation ofthat child's rights'. It also contravenes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Saudi Arabia is a signatory.

The Saudi religious establishment is generally in favour of the practice, saying that the Prophet Muhammad married his wife when she was only six years old. But in the past few months, activists, writers and journalists within the country have become more outspoken about child marriage and have been demanding a minimum age for marriage to be enshrined in Saudi law. …

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