Male guardianship

Saudi Arabia said to reassess ban on women drivers (Arabian Business)

11/29/2013 -- Arabian Business -- "Saudi Arabia said to reassess ban on women drivers" Equality Now's Suad Abu-Dayyeh:

"Under the Saudi Arabian male guardianship system, women are vulnerable to a wide range of discrimination in both private and public life and have limited decision-making authority and freedom of movement,” she said.

Saudi Arabia: End child marriages and male guardianship over women

Action Number: 
31.5
Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 May 16

view as pdf

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please write to the authorities below and urge them to provide safeguards to ensure that girls and women have a real choice in the timing of marriage and selection of a spouse by:

  • Adopting and implementing the proposed regulations to set a minimum age of marriage
  • Going a step further to meet the international recommended standard by raising the suggested minimum marriage age to 18 years old
  • Ending the male guardianship system to remove discrimination against women and girls, including in their access to education, employment, and justice and the ability to make their own life choices

Letters should go to:

His Majesty, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966-1-491-2726

H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh
Speaker of the Shura Council
Tel: +966-1-482-1666
Fax: +966-1-481-6985
Email: webmaster@shura.gov.sa

H.E. Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul El Karim Abdul Azziz El Issa
Minister of Justice
University Street, Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966-1-401-1741

With a copy to: The Human Rights Commission, Fax: +966 1 461 2061, Email: info@hrc.gov.sa

Letters: 

Dear King Abdullah, Speaker of the Shura Council/ Minister:

As there is currently no minimum age of marriage law in Saudi Arabia, I welcome the 8 April 2013 proposal by the Saudi Ministry of Justice to introduce new regulations regarding the marriage age of girls. I understand that the draft regulations set 16 as the minimum age of marriage and propose preconditions to any marriage of a girl under the age of 16, which begin to offer protection to girls who would otherwise be married off with no restriction. I welcome these steps, which also reflect closer compliance with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations, and urge you to support their adoption and implementation without delay.

I respectfully call on you to go a step further, however, in accordance with international standards (including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by Saudi Arabia), by moving quickly to raise the minimum marriage age to 18 and by putting an end to the male guardianship system. Please also ensure there are appropriate safeguards to guarantee that a woman has a real choice in the timing of her marriage and the selection of her spouse. This will allow Saudi women and girls to enjoy their human rights and fulfill their aspirations.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

Cc: The Human Rights Commission email:info@hrc.gov.sa

Equality Now discusses women's rights in Saudi Arabia (Trust Law)

6/13/2012 -- TrustLaw -- "Saudi Arabia takes tiny steps on women’s rights" Equality Now discusses women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

"Women and girls in Saudi Arabia are treated as perpetual minors living under male guardianship all their lives – with restrictions on employment, political participation, travel, education and healthcare." --Yasmeen Hassan, Global Director

Saudi Arabia: Give women equal opportunities to education & end male guardianship over women

Action Number: 
31.4
Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2011 Apr 5
Swsan and her father
Swsan and her father

Swsan Ali El Demini, a bright and ambitious 18-year-old Saudi girl, has dreams of getting the best education. However, Swsan’s education has been an uphill struggle.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the King of Saudi Arabia, the Minister of Higher Education, the Minister of Education and the Shura Council asking them to live up to their obligations under international law to provide men and women equal rights in education with equal access to all academic levels and equal resources and facilities. Urge them to revoke all requirements that hinder female students from pursuing their education at all stages including the requirement that a male guardian accompany any Saudi female who studies abroad on a government scholarship. Urge them to ensure that the Saudi legal and judicial system reflect the stated claim that women are not subject to male guardianship, but rather have the right, among other things, to pursue all levels of education with access to the same fields of study, educational resources and facilities and on the same terms as their male counterparts. Please send a copy to the Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia.

>> TAKE ACTION NOW!

Letters should go to:

His Majesty, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 491 2726

H.E. Dr. Khaled Al Anqari
Minister of Higher Education
Tel: +966 1 441 5555     
Fax: +966 1 441 9004
contact@mohe.gov.sa

H.E. Faisal Bin Abdullah bin Muhammad Al Sud
Minister of Education
Fax: +96614057279

H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh
Speaker of the Shura Shura Council
Tel: +966 1 482 1666, +966 1 482 1666           
Fax: +966 1 481 6985
webmaster@shura.gov.sa

With a copy to:

The Human Rights Commission
P.O. Box 58889 Riyadh 11515
King Fahed Street, Building 373, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Email: hrc@haq-ksa.org

Letters: 

[His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 491 2726]

[H.E. Dr. Khaled Al Anqari
Minister of Higher Education
Tel: +966 1 441 5555
Fax: +966 1 4419004
contact@mohe.gov.sa]

[H.E. Faisal Bin Abdullah bin Muhammad Al Sud            
Minister of Education]
Fax:96614057279+

[H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh
Speaker of the Shura
Shura Council
Tel: +966 1 4821666 , +966 1 4821666      
Fax: +9661 4816985
webmaster@shura.gov.sa]

[Date]

[Your Highness] [Dear Minister],

I am writing to express my deep concern about the system of male guardianship in Saudi Arabia which among other things restricts girls’ access to education and therefore, to a successful and productive future.  Girls cannot be educated without the consent of their male guardian, can be restricted from pursuing further studies at any level, cannot leave the premises of educational institutions without permission from a male guardian and cannot travel abroad to study on a government scholarship without a male guardian.  In addition, the Saudi sex-segregated education system also provides inferior facilities and restricted curricula and fields of study to women. 

A case in point is that of 18-year-old Swsan Ali El Demini who wants to continue her studies overseas in the United States.  However, as her family requires government assistance to cover the cost of a US education, Swsan is unable to apply because of the requirement of the Saudi Ministry of Education that a male guardian accompany any Saudi female who studies abroad on a government scholarship.

I urge you to ensure that Saudi Arabia lives up to its obligations under international law to provide men and women equal rights in education with equal access to all academic levels and equal resources and facilities.  In this respect I urge you to revoke all requirements that hinder female students from pursuing their education at all stages including the requirement that a male guardian accompany any Saudi female who studies abroad on a government scholarship.  Please ensure that the Saudi legal and judicial system reflect the stated claim that women are not subject to male guardianship, but rather have the right, among other things, to pursue all levels of education with access to the same fields of study, educational resources and facilities and on the same terms as their male counterparts.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

Cc: The Human Rights Commission (email: hrc@haq-ksa.org)
       Shura Council
 

Saudi Arabia: End Child Marriages and Male Guardianship over Women

Action Number: 
31.3
Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2010 Nov 29
Update Date: 
2012 Nov 6
Update: 

UPDATE 20 MARCH 2013: The judge heard Fatima’s case earlier than expected and in November 2012, issued divorce papers without requiring repayment of the dower. After a required 90-day waiting period, Fatima’s divorce was finalized on 10 February. We will continue to work with Saudi activists to get a ban on child marriage in Saudi Arabia.


UPDATE 6 NOVEMBER 2012: Our Saudi Arabian partners have recently informed us that as of May 2011, 12-year-old child bride Fatima is back at home with her family and has refused to go back to her husband; she is attempting to get a divorce with the support of her uncle. Her husband wants her to move back to his house when she is older, and says that he will not grant her a divorce unless he is paid a large amount of money.  A judge has scheduled the first hearing in her divorce case for 12 December 2012.

We are strategizing with our partners on legal support services for Fatima so that she can continue pursuing the divorce case. However we are concerned that the judge will rule against her unless she can find a way to pay back the dower her father has already spent. Please continue to take action and keep pressure on the King of Saudi Arabia to issue an edict banning child marriages by establishing 18 years as a minimum age of marriage, and providing punishments for adults who enter into or facilitate such unions. Call upon him to annul the marriages of child brides whose marriage contracts have been executed but who have yet to be handed over to their husbands, and to ensure that child brides already living with their husbands are given the means to annul their marriages.


Equality Now has been informed of several cases of Saudi girls being married off at the behest of their male guardians. The most recent case concerns 12-year-old Fatima from Najran who was married on 5 October 2010 to a 50 year old man who already has a wife and ten children, most much older than Fatima. Her father Ali, who is unemployed and addicted to drugs, sold her in marriage for a sum of 40,000 Saudi Riyals (approximately US$ 10,665), which he used to buy himself a car. Reportedly, Fatima’s husband bought her a PlayStation as a wedding gift.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the King of Saudi Arabia asking him to issue an edict banning child marriages by establishing 18 years as a minimum age of marriage and providing punishments for those who enter into or facilitate such unions. Call upon him to take urgent action to annul the marriages of child brides whose marriage contracts have been executed but who have yet to be handed over to their husbands, and to ensure that child brides already living with their husbands are given a real choice to annul their marriages. Please urge him to ensure that the system of male guardianship over women is abolished so that Saudi women secure the right, among other things, to enter into marriages of their choice. In this respect, urge him to support the establishment of a codified personal status law to guarantee the rights of women in marriage and divorce, ensuring that such a law is based upon principles of equality and non-discrimination. Please send a similar letter to the Minister of Justice and a copy to the Human Rights Commission. TAKE ACTION!

Letters should go to:

His Majesty, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 491 2726

His Excellency Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Elkarim
Abdul Azziz El Issa
Minister of Justice
University Street, Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 401 1741

With a copy to:

The Human Rights Commission
P.O. Box 58889 Riyadh 11515
King Fahed Street, Building 373, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Email: hrc@haq-ksa.org

Letters: 

[His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 491 2726]

[His Excellency Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Elkarim Abdul Azziz El Issa
Minister of Justice
University Street, Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966-1-401-1741]

 [Date]

[Your Highness] [Dear Minister],

I am writing to express my deep concern about the issue of child marriage in Saudi Arabia and the extremely negative impact of such marriage on girls.  A recent case is that of 12-year-old Fatima from Najran who was married by her father to a 50-year-old man with a wife and ten children in exchange for 40,000 Saudi Riyals which her father used to buy a car.  Fatima’s paternal grandfather and uncle were opposed to the marriage but could not prevent it because, as her male guardian, her father Ali had the right under Saudi law to marry her off at whatever age to whomever he pleased.  They fear that Fatima’s two younger sisters will be subjected to a similar fate.

Child marriages violate the human rights of girls by excluding them from decisions regarding the timing of marriage and choice of spouse.  International organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and UNFPA have underscored the negative physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual and sexual implications of child marriage on girls.  Fatima’s marriage will, among other things, deprive her of an education and severely jeopardize her right to mental, emotional and physical well-being.

I urge you to issue an edict banning child marriages by establishing 18 years as the minimum age of marriage, and providing punishments for those who enter into or facilitate such unions.  I also urge you to take urgent action to annul the marriages of child brides whose marriage contracts have been executed but who have yet to be handed over to their husbands, and to ensure that child brides already living with their husbands are given a real choice to annul their marriages.  Please ensure that the Saudi legal and judicial system reflect your government’s stated claim before international bodies that women are not subject to male guardianship, but rather have the right, among other things, to enter into marriages of their choice.  In this respect, I urge you to support the establishment of a codified personal status law to guarantee the rights of women in marriage and divorce, ensuring that such a law is based upon principles of equality and non-discrimination. 

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

Cc: The Human Rights Commission (email: hrc@haq-ksa.org)
 

Saudi Arabia: Women under Perpetual Guardianship of Male Relatives

Action Number: 
31.2
Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2010 May 17

On 17 February 2010, after four years of separation, Fatima Bent Suleiman, Mansour El Timani and their children were finally reunited following a decision by the Supreme Judiciary Council to overturn their forced divorce. Fatima’s marriage had been approved by Fatima’s father in 2003, but after his death her half-brothers petitioned for her divorce on the grounds of her tribal incompatibility with her husband. Fatima believes one reason for this was to enable her half-brothers through legal guardianship to retain control over her inheritance.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the King of Saudi Arabia and the Minister of Justice asking them to ensure that the Saudi legal and judicial system reflect the stated claim that women are not subject to male guardianship, but rather have the right, among other aspects, to enter into and stay in marriages of their choice without third party interference and make relevant decisions about their education, healthcare, travel and employment and other aspects of life. Urge them to support the establishment of a codified personal status law to guarantee the rights of women in marriage, divorce and all other aspects of life and to revoke the male guardianship system that hinders women’s participation in both private and public life. TAKE ACTION!

Letters should go to:

His Majesty, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 491 2726

His Excellency Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Elkarim Abdul Azziz El Issa
Minister of Justice
University Street, Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 401 1741

With a copy to:
The Human Rights Commission
P.O. Box 58889, Riyadh 11515
King Fahed Street, Building 373, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Email: hrc@haq-ksa.org

Sample letter

Saudi Arabia: Forced Divorce—Women under Perpetual Guardianship of Male Relatives

Action Number: 
31.1
Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2009 Feb 1

Fatima Bent Suleiman Al Azzaz married Mansour Ben Attieh El Timani in 2003 with the consent of her father (her guardian) as required in Saudi Arabia. The couple was happily married and had two children, a girl Nuha, born in May 2004, and a boy Suleiman, born in November 2005.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the King of Saudi Arabia and the Minister of Justice asking them to ensure that the Saudi legal and judicial system reflect the stated claim that women are not subject to male guardianship, but rather have the right, among other things, to enter into and stay in marriages of their choice without third party interference. In this respect, urge them to support the establishment of a codified personal status law to guarantee the rights of women in marriage and divorce, ensuring that such law is based upon principles of equality and non-discrimination. Call upon them to take urgent action to reunite Fatima, Mansour and their children as a family whose rights are recognized and protected under the Saudi Constitution, as well as other couples who have been divorced without their consent (to the extent such couples want to be reunited) and to ensure that no couple is divorced without the consent of at least one of them. Letters should go to:

His Majesty, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Tel: +966 1 488 2222
Fax: +966 1 491 2726

His Excellency Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Elkarim Abdul Azziz El Issa
Minister of Justice
University Street, Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 401 1741

With a copy to:

Dr. Bandar bin Abdullah El Aiban
President
The Human Rights Commission
P.O. Box 58889 Riyadh 11515
King Fahed Street
Building 373, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 14 612 061
Email: shakwa@haq-ksa.org

Letters: 

[His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 491 2726]

[His Excellency Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Elkarim Abdul Azziz El Issa
Minister of Justice
University Street, Riyadh 11137
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966-1-401-1741]
[Date]

[Your Highness] [Dear Minister],

I am writing to you in regard to the case of Fatima Bent Suleiman Al Azzaz who was forcibly divorced from her husband Mansour Ben Attieh El Timani in a decision upheld by the Cassation Court. The court held that any relative of a woman could petition a court to invalidate her marriage on the basis of her “tribal incompatibility” with her husband and upheld the principle of perpetual male guardianship of women by their male relatives. Several other cases of forced divorce have followed.

I urge you to take immediate action to reunite Fatima, Mansour and their two children as a family whose rights are recognized and protected under the Saudi Constitution, as well as other couples who have been divorced without their consent (to the extent that such couples want to be reunited) and to ensure that no couple is divorced without the consent of at least one of them. In this regard, I ask you to ensure that the Saudi legal and judicial system reflect the stated claim of the Saudi government that women are not subject to male guardianship, but rather have the right, among other things, to enter into and stay in marriages of their choice without third party interference. I urge you to support the establishment of a codified personal status law to guarantee the rights of women in marriage and divorce, ensuring that such law is based upon principles of equality and non-discrimination.

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely
 

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