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Law against early marriage hostage of confessional bodies

7-12-2018

The Parliament Secretariat, the Lebanese Democratic Women’s Gathering and the National Alliance for the Protection of Children from Early Marriage held a consultative meeting on December 4 under the banner, ‘Legal arguments on early marriage of children in Lebanon, and its relationship with international agreements’. On the occasion, NCLW president, Claudine Aoun, reminded of the draft bill submitted to the parliament which sets the minimum age for marriage at 18 for boys and girls with no exceptions until after the completion of 16 years and after the legal guardian receives consent of the juvenile court judge. Aoun pointed out that given the fact that all faiths reject and condemn violence, the marriage of children is considered one of many forms of violence against girls. She explained that the capacity the Lebanese State kept to the confessional and spiritual authorities in personal status matters does not mean that the State should relinquish its role in protecting its citizens and defending their rights. For his part, the minister of state for women’s affairs in the caretaker government, Jean Ogassapian, questioned the possibility of enacting a law outside the framework established and recognized by the various religious sects in the country? On the other hand, L’Orient Le Jour newspaper reported that while representatives of the FPM, PSP, Kataeb and LF parties have supported the minimum age of 18 without exceptions, Hizbullah MP Nawwaf Mousawi, reiterated that determining the age of marriage is the responsibility of spiritual authorities. The Future Movement did not participate in the meeting, according to the newspaper. (L’Orient Le Jour, December 5, 2018)

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