Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why is no one protecting Saudi Arabia's child brides?

The support of the Saudi monarchy and its apologists in the west means the barbaric practice of child marriage is unchallenged

Ali al-Ahmed
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 8 November 2011

"Atgaa, 10, and her sister Reemya, 8, are about to be married to men in their 60s. Atgaa will be her husband's fourth wife. Their wedding celebrations are scheduled for this week and will take place in the town of Fayaadah Abban in Qasim, Saudi Arabia.
The girls are getting married because their financially struggling father needs the money that their dowries will provide: young girls of this age can fetch as much as $40,000 each.
Many readers might be shocked at this news. How can it be legal? The answer is that Saudi Arabia has no minimum age for marriage, and it is perfectly legal to marry even an hour-old child.....

So far, no UN body, such as Unicef or the human rights council, has issued a single statement condemning child marriages in Saudi Arabia. In fact, not one country has made a statement in the human rights council on this issue, and not a single western government has asked the Saudi monarchy to stop the practice. The ugly tradition of child marriage thus continues with the help of the monarchy and its apologists in the west.

If any governments, especially in the west, are seriously concerned with this barbaric and medieval practice, they should ban the heads of Saudi justice, interior and health ministries from entering their countries. If this action were taken against government leaders facilitating crimes against children we would soon see a resolution of this issue.

Saudi Arabia must be pressured to set a minimum age for marriage and save children like Atgaa and Reemya."

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