Saudi Arabia: Eight-year-old girl granted divorce

See?  It's not that backwards after all!  [sarcasm]: 

Riyadh, 30 April (AKI) - An eight-year-old Saudi girl who was sold into marriage by her father has been granted a divorce after international outrage about the case, Saudi media has reported.

The girl's marriage, which was reportedly to a man in his 50s, was annulled on Wednesday in the city of Onaiza, by a second judge after the original judge in the case refused to yield to pressure to grant the divorce.

Riyadh newspapers said the settlement was reached after the intervention in the case by an unidentified "important personality".

The girl's father is reported to have sold her last year to the man in exchange for a dowry.

When her mother found out, she petitioned the court for the girl's divorce.

The judge twice rejected her case, despite saying the marriage could only be consummated once the girl reached puberty.

The head of the United Nations Children’s Fund expressed her concern over the earlier ruling in which the Saudi Arabian court ruled that the marriage of the eight-year-old girl was legally binding.

“Irrespective of circumstances or the legal framework, the marriage of a child is a violation of that child’s rights,” UNICEF executive director Anne M. Veneman stressed in a statement two weeks ago.

"UNICEF joins many in voicing concern that child marriage contravenes accepted international standards of human rights,” she added.

She noted that the right to free and full consent to marriage is recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but that “consent cannot be free and full when either party to a marriage is too young to make an informed decision.”

Veneman warned that marriage at too young an age could have long-term harmful effects on a child’s emotional, physical and psychological welfare.



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