You are here

No child interest served by early marriages

Aug 02,2017 - Last updated at Aug 02,2017

On the occasion of the launch of the study “Marriage of minors in Jordan”, on Sunday, the minister of planning and international cooperation got to the heart of the matter when he said that child marriage is a “reproduction of poverty, ignorance and disease”.

The study, prepared by the Higher Population Council, the Department of Statistics, the National Committee for Women Affairs and the National Council for Family Affairs, intended to identify the causes and effects of child marriage and reach proposals that contribute to combating this negative phenomenon, including through revoking loopholes in the pertinent law that still accords judges the power to allow for exceptions to the 15 to 18-year minimum age for marriage for girls if “it is in their best interest”.

The regulations recently issued by the Cabinet to regulate the legal age for early marriage for girls drew criticism from activists and women groups in the country; many described them as a “step backwards”.

They replace previous legislation, issued in 2011, which specified the age of marriage for boys and girls, along with other matters related to the marriage of youngsters. 

In 2002, several changes were made to the Personal Status Law, including raising the legal age of marriage to 18 from 15 for women and 16 for men, but the changes still allowed exceptions, which were also being targeted by the new study.

Beyond legalities, just from a grown-up, or parent, perspective, how can the best interest of a child be served by allowing that child to marry at an early age?

According to the minister, who is also president of the Higher Population Council, allowing minors to marry has serious economic effects on the safety and wellbeing of families; it affects the education and care of children, leads to neglect, displacement and, possibly, to an environment that generates violence.

What possible justification can be presented to prove that it is in the best interest of a child to enter into early marriage?

It may serve the financial situation of a family or be in line with some social traditions, but by any scientific reasoning, it cannot be good for a minor still in the process of physical and mental development.

The fact that the so-called exceptions are not really exceptions is illustrated by the fact that child marriages are still quite widespread, accounting for 17.6 per cent of all marriages among Jordanian women and 39.5 per cent among Syrian refugee women.

The exceptions allowed under the current law regulating marriage negate the intents and purposes of the law against child marriage.

Understanding that poverty and ignorance are the main reasons for the child marriage phenomenon, the way to deal with the problem is to tackle these issues first.

 

The legislative and executive branches of government should be prompted to reconsider this troubling issue and adopt the amendments that end the loopholes that make children prey to grown-ups’ whims.

up
27 users have voted.

Comments

THIS STATISTICS IS DISMAL AND HEART BREAKING. THE FACT THAT WE WASTE THE BRAINS AND TALENTS OF OUR BABY GIRLS SEEN IN THIS 17.6% AMONG THE JORDANIAN SAMPLE OF GIRLS CAN EXPLAIN WHY THE COUNTRY IS IN A WRONG ECONOMIC PROJECTILE AND THIS TREND NEEDS AN IMMEDIATE REVERSAL NOW. THE SAMPLE OF THE SYRIAN GIRLS THAT SHOWED ALMOST 40% IS VERY SHAMEFUL AS IT COULD BE INTERPRETED AS EXPLOITATION OF THE HOMELESS, HUNGRY AND SEX SLAVERY. IF I MAY ASK, WHO ARE THE MEN MARRING THESE SYRIAN BABIES?. THIS IS NOT JUST ANOTHER TRADITION OR PINAL CODE BUT VIOLENT CRIME COMMITTED AGAINST HELPLESS BABIES AND I HOPE THAT THE UN AND WHO ARE AWARE OF THIS. THESE CHILDREN ARE UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS DIVISION FOR REFUGEE AFFAIRS AND MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THESE ABUSES BECAUSE THEY KNOW AND SAW THIS GOING ON AND MAINTAINED A CODE OF SILENCE. THERE IS NO REASON WHY THIS SHOULD HAPPEN AT ALL. WHERE IS THE MINISTER OF SOCIAL AFFAIRS? ASLEEP ON THE WHEELS OR AT WORST THINKING THAT THIS WAS OK AS THE LATE ARTICLE 308. WHILE WE ARE DISGUESTED ABOUT ALL THESE INCIDENTS, WE MUST GIVE CREDIT TO JORDAN FOR BEING TRANSPARENT AND ALLOW AN OPEN DISCAUTIONS ON THIS ISSUE. INDEED, JORDAN HAS NOW SET A VERY HIGH BAR FOR THE REST OF THE ARAB WORLD AND THINGS ARE ABOUT TO CHANGE. THE CAN OF WORMS ARE NOW OPEN AND I HOPE THAT OTHERS WILL FOLLOW AS THEY NOW HAVE ONE LESS COUNTRY TO HIDE BEHIND. MY DEAR FRIENDS AND IN LAWS, THIS IS THE YEAR 2017 AND NOT 1800. WHEN WE THINK THAT WE ARE GETTING SOME WHERE, ANOTHER HARAM POPS OUT.

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
4 + 8 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Newsletter

Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.