Saudi women will be told by text if they are divorced

Hessah al Ajaji drives her car for the first time in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. Image AAP

The new measure was approved by the country's justice ministry on Sunday, Agence France-Presse reports citing local media.

In a new regulation that took effect today in Saudia Arabia, women will now be served their divorce notice by courts via text message.

Under the ministerial decisions, the courts will also inform women that their status has been changed to married following their marriage contracts.

While the end of the driving ban was a welcome major step, a number of women's rights activists were rounded up that same month and put behind bars - some of them campaigners for the right to drive.

The directive would ensure women are fully aware of their marital status and can protect rights such as alimony.

"In most Arab countries, men can just divorce their wives", she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Details of the divorce will be available on the website of the justice ministry and can be accessed only by the divorced woman. Yet, there were cases in which men were secretly getting a divorce without their wives knowledge.

"It also ensures that any powers of attorney issued before the divorce are not misused", she added.

Saudi Arabia's crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman advanced a number of liberal social reforms in the ultra-conservative Kingdom.

"Saudi women fleeing their families can face severe violence from relatives, deprivation of liberty, and other serious harm if returned against their will", Michael Page, the deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, told The Times.

"The male guardianship system is a core issue and it must be dismantled", said Abu-Dayyeh.

But women still remain subject to male guardianship laws.



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