Bangladesh sets two-year jail term for child marriage

By AFP
Published: September 15, 2014
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The current legal age for marriage in Bangladesh is 18 for women and 21 for men. Child marriage is punishable by up to three months in jail but the law is poorly enforced. STOCK PHOTO

The current legal age for marriage in Bangladesh is 18 for women and 21 for men. Child marriage is punishable by up to three months in jail but the law is poorly enforced. STOCK PHOTO

DHAKA: Bangladesh on Monday approved a law setting a two-year jail term for anyone involved in marrying a girl aged under 18, in a bid to cut the country’s notoriously high child marriage rate.

The new law comes days after new UN figures showed two-thirds of Bangladeshi girls marry before they reach adulthood. It targets the parents or guardians and the marriage registrar as well as the groom.

“Anyone found responsible for child marriage, including the groom, the marriage registrar or the guardians, would be jailed for up to two years,” said cabinet secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan.

The current legal age for marriage in Bangladesh is 18 for women and 21 for men. Child marriage is punishable by up to three months in jail but the law is poorly enforced.

The bill is expected to be passed during the current session of the parliament, Bhuiyan told AFP. Girls and women will not be punished for marrying an underage man.

“We do not want to jail people but the goal is to prevent people from this bad practice,” he said.

A report published last week by the UN children’s agency said Bangladesh’s high rate of child marriage was putting girls at risk of sexual exploitation and domestic violence.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Raj - USA
    Sep 15, 2014 - 6:57PM

    Bangladesh is making significant progress after it banned JI.

    Recommend

  • BlackJack
    Sep 15, 2014 - 10:58PM

    Excellent step. Respect for the Bangladesh Govt.

    Recommend

  • ajeet
    Sep 16, 2014 - 1:49AM

    This is how you secularize and progress instead of going back to stone ages.

    Recommend

  • Moiz Omar
    Sep 16, 2014 - 2:30AM

    Good job by Bangladesh. Can we follow their lead?Recommend

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