While Saudi Arabia’s government has not been able to establish a minimum age for women to be married, it is setting up guidelines that should make it less likely, Arab News reports.

The Ministry of Interior is calling for the establishment of a special court that must approve any marriage where the woman is under 16. Further, it will require that the woman be examined/interviewed by an OB/GYN, a social worker, and a psychiatrist who will approve or disapprove the marriage. As long as a cottage industry of easy-approvers doesn’t develop, this should serve to severely limit the practice.

Tough guidelines for minor marriage hailed
RIYADH: Huda Salih & Reem Wafai

Proposed guidelines from the Ministry of Interior could make it tougher for girls below 16 to get married.

Fahd Al-Bakran, a spokesman for the ministry, said the strict recommendations were submitted to the Council of of Senior Islamic Scholars.

The ministry recommends that guardians of girls under 16 must apply to a judge in a special court to obtain a waiver to marry them off.

In addition, a female obstetrician/gynecologist, a psychiatrist and social worker must submit a signed medical report.

The Interior Ministry also recommends that evidence be given that the girl is mentally and physically mature. The girl also must consent to the marriage and have permission from her mother. Only the judge can grant the waiver to marry.

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