Friday, October 26, 2007

[wvns] Children of Summer Marriages

Children the Main Victims of Summer Marriages
Lulwa Shalhoub
Arab News
http://arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=98725&d=20&m=7&y=2007


JEDDAH — The summer season is known as a primetime for male Saudi
tourists to marry women from other countries while on holiday abroad.
These marriages are generally unplanned. Most men undergo such
marriages with an intention of enjoying their vacation in the company
of women who are "religiously" legal for them.

The marriages are ones of convenience. While men look for fun, the
women are usually experiencing financial difficulties and see summer
marriages as a way to be spoilt and have money spent on them. The real
victims of such marriages are their children.

According to Abdullah Al-Hamoud, chairman of Awasser, a Saudi charity
that looks after the welfare of Saudi families abroad, the Kingdom
protects the rights of children from marriages between Saudi men and
non-Saudi women. He added that such marriages are usually done without
the prior-permission of the Interior Ministry. (Saudi law demands
Saudis seek permission when marrying abroad).

"Such marriages are not only restricted to the summer season," he
said. "They happen throughout the year. Sometimes Saudi husbands don't
want to bring their foreign wives to the Kingdom. They prefer keeping
them outside the Kingdom and frequently fly abroad to visit them," he
added.

The charity has offices abroad at Saudi embassies in Egypt, Syria,
Lebanon, Yemen, Morocco and Indonesia. The organization also runs
awareness campaigns for Saudis, warning them against visiting
unscrupulous matchmaking offices.

"Children from such marriages are entitled to come to the Kingdom and
be registered in their fathers' family cards. However, wives can't
come unless they're accredited. They also can't get listed in their
husband's family card until then," said Al-Hamoud.

"In cases of fathers denying they are related to a child, we make them
undergo DNA tests to prove their identity. However, we haven't faced
such a scenario as of yet," he added.

Awasser has also found that 70 percent of Saudis living abroad are the
children of cross-cultural marriages. The society has succeeded in
bringing 32 poverty-stricken children of Saudi fathers into the
Kingdom in the past 18 months.

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