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Cultural and social factors facilitating child marriage in Lebanon


In its issue of today, Al Diyar newspaper drew attention to the child marriage in Lebanon, noting that despite repeated promises by officials, a solution has not been set in motion. On the subject, Al Diyar spoke to psychiatrist Celia Khater, who explained that cultural factors are key in the rise of the phenomenon, saying, mostly, it is related to stereotypical notions about the sexual life of women and girls and their traditional role in society as housewives or mothers. Khater maintained that the marriage of underage girls is also linked to social factors, particularly to the economic status of the family. The result is deprivation of education for girls or early drop out from school to marry early as an answer to ensuring economic self-sufficiency, especially for households living in extreme poverty. Khater went on to say, that in some cases, the marriage of minors could be a financial resource for the family through so-called ‘Mahr’ (dowry) paid upon completing the marriage contract. Khater concluded by saying that, religious and political factors also impede the ratification of the law preventing the marriage of minors in the country. For his part, the head of Justicia Beirut Consult, lawyer Paul Morcus, said there is no unified age for marriage in Lebanon, noting that each sect advises its own legal age for marriage based on its religious rules. Legally, Morcus stressed, there is no Lebanese law that bans the marriage of minors, despite efforts made by civil society activists to this end. (Al Diyar, February 21, 2019)

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