A new law allows the marriage of minors in special contexts

Mar 082017
 

Child marriage in Bangladesh

   
A recently passed law that allows the conditional marriage of underage girls and boys will reduce the child marriage rate by 50% in the next two years, claims State Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki.
Parliament passed the Child Marriage Restraint Act last month, replacing a colonial-era law. Child marriages are common in Bangladesh, where more than half of all girls are married off before 18.
“There is no way people can marry off children by manipulating the special provision,” Chumki said at a programme marking International Women’s Day in Dhaka on Wednesday.
She said such marriages would only be allowed if the guardians can justify them before magistrates or the concerned authorities.
However, the law has not set a minimum age for these conditional marriages.
The Act has drawn flak from rights groups who argue that it will only increase child marriages in Bangladesh, which has the highest child marriage rate in Asia.
But the government has defended it saying the law was formed “considering the reality of our society“.
Women’s rights NGO Nijera Kori coordinator Khushi Kabir said the special provision was a leeway for sexual predators to “buy their way in”.
MP Rawshan Ara Mannan, who proposed amendments to the law, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The special provision will only encourage and legalise child marriage.”

Out Of Slums Dhaka - Bangladesh
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