Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Marriage market in Saudi Arabia: age of marriage

Many markets unravel, that is, transactions tend to become earlier and earlier. One example is marriage markets, in which betrothals can sometimes be very early indeed, particularly in polygenous cultures. The NY Times reports that Saudi Arabia's most senior cleric was quoted Wednesday as saying it is permissible for 10-year-old girls to marry .

"Al Sheikh's comments come at a time when Saudi human rights groups have been pushing the government to put an end to marriages involving the very young and to define a minimum age for marriage. ...
"On Sunday, the government-run Human Rights Commission condemned marriages of minor girls, saying such marriages are an ''inhumane violation'' and rob children of their rights.
The commission's statement followed a ruling by a court in Oneiza in central Saudi Arabia last month that dismissed a divorce petition by the mother of an eight-year-old girl whose father married her off to a man in his 50s....
"Activists say the girls are given away in return for hefty dowries or as a result of long-standing custom in which a father promises his infant daughters and sons to cousins out of a belief that marriage will protect them from illicit relationships."

No comments: