Eight-year-old Saudi girl wants to divorce 50-year-old husband

August 25th, 2008 - 8:44 am ICT by IANS  

Riyadh, Aug 25 (IANS) An eight-year-old girl, who has been married to a man in his 50s, has filed for divorce at a Saudi court here, media reports said.The child’s mother is pushing for the marriage to be annulled, though the father opposes the move, Saudi newspaper al-Watan said. Her father had married the girl to the man without her knowledge, BBC reported, quoting the newspaper.

Child-protection groups say children are often given away in return for hefty dowries. Activists have called for an end to the practice.

In another case in April, a Yemeni court had annulled the marriage between an eight-year-old girl and a 28-year-old man.

Saudi human rights groups, clerics and others have denounced the recent spate of marriages involving the very young. They say such unions are harmful to the children and trivialise the institution of marriage.

“We are studying this issue so we can put an end to this phenomenon,” said Zuhair al-Harithi, board member of the Human Rights Commission, a government-run rights group.

“These marriages violate international agreements the kingdom has signed,” the report quoted the board member as saying.

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