His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 491 2726
15 June 2009
I am writing to express my deep concern about the marriage of Amneh Mohamed Sharahili, a 10 year old schoolgirl whose marriage contract to a 25 year old man was executed in February 2009 with the consent of her father and who will be handed over to her husband in July 2009. It is commonly accepted that early marriage has physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual and sexual implications on children and violates their human rights. Amneh’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 take urgent action to annul the marriage of Amneh and all other child brides whose marriage contracts have been executed but who have yet to be handed over to their husbands. I also ask you to ensure that child brides already living with their husbands are given a real choice to annul their marriages and, if they opt for annulment, to ensure that this happens swiftly without negative repercussions on the girls. 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.
Cc: The Human Rights Commission (email: hrc[at]haq-ksa[dot]org)