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memri
February 18, 2009 No.
2244

Saudi Society for Defense of Women's Rights Launches Internet Campaign For Legal Ban on Child Marriage

Following are excerpts from a campaign launched by the Saudi Society for Defense of Women's Rights against child marriage, which aired on the Internet in January, 2009.

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Title: "I'm a child, not a woman."

Title: "Please protect my childhood by law."

Newspaper headline: "The Mufti of Saudi Arabia Permits Marriage of 10-Year-Old Girl"

Interviewer: "How old are you? Could you please raise your voice?"

Ten-year-old girl: "I am 10."

Interviewer: "You are 10? Can a 10-year-old girl marry?"

Girl: "No."

Interviewer: "Why can't she marry?"

Girl: "Because she's too small."

Interviewer: "Because she's too small. Thank you, dear."

Newspaper headline: "'Uneiza Girl's Marriage: Marriage Annulment Refused"

Interviewer: "How old are you?"

Second ten-year-old girl: "10."

Interviewer: "10 years old? Can a 10-year-old girl marry?"

Girl: "No."

Interviewer: "Why? Because she's what?"

Girl: "She's too small."

Interviewer: "Thank you, dear."

Newspaper headline: "Husband of the 'Uneiza Girl Adds Her Name to Family Identity Card"

Interviewer: "How old are you?"

Eight-year-old girl: "I am eight."

Interviewer: "And how old are you?"

Nine-year-old girl: "I am nine."

Interviewer: "What do you think? Can girls your age marry?"

Eight-year-old girl: "No"

Interviewer: "Why not?"

Eight-year-old girl: "Because we are too small."

Interviewer: "Do you agree with this?"

Nine-year-old girl: "Yes."

Interviewer: "In other words, children should not be married?"

Eight-year-old girl: "Right."

Interviewer: "Thank you."

Twelve-year-old girl: "I am 12 years old. I am a child, not a woman. How can they marry off children? I hope to become an engineer when I grow up."

Newspaper headline: "It Is Permitted to Marry a Child When She Can Bear the Burden"

Interviewer: "How old are you?"

Sixteen-year-old girl: "I am 16 years old."

Interviewer: "Do you think a girl your age can marry?"

Girl: "Of course not."

Interviewer: "Why not?"

Girl: "Because she can't handle the responsibility of a family, a home, a husband, pregnancy, and so on. This is a great responsibility. It is hard."

Newspaper headline: "Legal Activist Requests Two Ministries to Prevent the Marriage of Her Two Minor Daughters"

Interviewer: "How old are you?"

Thirteen-year-old girl: "I am 13."

Interviewer: "Do you think a girl your age can marry?"

Girl: "No."

Interviewer: "Why not?"

Girl: "Because she is young and doesn't know anything about marriage."

Interviewer: "So you would not agree to be married now?"

Girl: "Of course not."

Interviewer: "Thank you."

Newspaper headline: "Saudi Lawyer Volunteers to Help Two Girls Forced to Marry"

Interviewer: "Hello, girls."

Girls: "Hi."

Interviewer: "May I ask how old you are?"

Twenty-year-old: "I am 20."

Sixteen-year-old: "I am 16."

Interviewer: "What do you think about child marriages?"

Twenty-year-old: "To be honest, we do not support this. First of all, there is a big difference in the way they think. The girl is young and can't handle the responsibility of marriage. This is a heavy responsibility."

Interviewer: "Do you think there should be a legal age limit?"

Sixteen-year-old: "Sure, that's how it is all over the world."

Interviewer: "What is the age?"

Sixteen-year-old: "18 is the accepted age.

Fourteen-year-old girl: "I am 14 years old."

Interviewer: "How old are you?"

Seventeen-year-old: "I am 17."

Interviewer: "Would you want to be married at your age?"

Both girls: "No. Of course not."

Interviewer: "How come?"

Fourteen-year-old: "Because we are young. How can we get married when we are still too small? We don't know how to raise our siblings, so how could we raise children?"

Seventeen-year-old: "I have hopes for the future. If I get married, how can I raise children? I am thinking about my future."

Newspaper headline: "Human Rights Association Strives to End Child Marriage"

[...]

Interviewer: "You are six years old. Do you go to school? What grade are you in?"

Six-year-old girl: "First grade."

Interviewer: "Can a girl in first grade be married?"

Girl: "No."

Interviewer: "Why not?"

Girl: "Because she is too small."

[...]

Thirteen-year-old girl: "I am 13 years old. I am too young to be married. I want the law to protect us, so we will not be married at the age of 10 plus. I have aspirations. I am still young, I haven't seen the world yet. We are still children, how can we raise children? We cannot be expected to raise children, while we are still young.

"I would like to become a scientist. I don't want this responsibility. We ask you, our father [King] Abdallah, to protect us by law, so that we are married only at the legal age."

Newspaper headline: "Attempt to Marry Off Two Children – One Aged Five – Thwarted"

Newspaper headline: "UNICEF Warns against Child Marriage"

Crying Child: "I don't want to get married."

Title: "No to Child Marriages"

Title: "The Prophet Muhammad said: 'They will be honored only by the honorable, and they will be humiliated only by the depraved.'"