By: Ahmed Al-Qorashi*
When we receive report submissions regarding underage marriage, and following investigations we find that:
1. The family has given their consent.
2. No family mahram can act as guardian or provide a shelter should the child request one.
3. There are no shelters in the state.
4. The child has expressed the desire for marriage–although developmentally, she cannot consent.
5. There is no national law that defines a safe age for marriage.
What can we do?
I pose this question to provide context for colleagues who tag me and other protection specialists on Facebook and initiate advocacy campaigns without understanding the specifics of the situation or even considering if their emotional rallies will be successful.
We make a concerted effort to prevent ourselves from becoming batons in the hands of fervent mobs or parties to other conflicts. For us, meddling in matters of this sensitive nature is like walking in a minefield.
Our primary mission at Seyaj is to protect child victims in an appropriate manner that achieves their interests and spares them complications that may affect their life, safety, or human dignity.
Defending the rights of the child cannot be done performatively, especially in issues pertaining to the family. It is a delicate process that requires prudence and caution in a way that achieves the best interest of the child and avoids any complications.
If we object to marrying off a 15-year-old girl in circumstances similar to the one described above, challenge her family, and win the case, the victim may be unable to continue living in the family home. Who will look after her? Who will safeguard, care for, and keep her safe? And where will she go once the ill-advised swarm has passed?
One of our duties as a child protection organization is to search for the best possible options that guarantee the rights of the child.

* Head Of Seyaj Org.

They Are Not Tools for Emotional Mobilization