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Marriage of underage girls now rampant in rural area and a bill in-pipeline to define its legal framework


Al Akhbar newspaper published a report about the rampant trend of marriage of underage girls coinciding with the next session of the Human Rights Council which will take place in Geneva on September 27th.  The issue of early marriage is on the agenda of the next HR Council meeting amongst its 40 items to be discussed.  According to the General Secretary of the NCLW, Fady Karam, the NCLW has prepared a law proposal to determine the legal framework of such practices.  The proposed law requests the consultation of a judge in order to secure a marriage license, short of which, the family has to pay a penalty.  Karam noted in his interview with Al Akhbar that according to the new law, families may request a marriage license from religious courts. He insisted on the need for harmonisation between religious and civil courts to ensure the protection of children.
The report noted that early marriages are on the rise in rural areas such as Akkar and the Beqaa.  Even though statistics are not available in Lebanon, UNICEF nevertheless noted that as a result of the Syrian crisis and the influx of 1.3 million displaced people, the trend has grown exponentially in displacement centres.  According to worldwide estimates, one of every nine girls is being forced to marriage before reaching 15 years of age.  Some girls are even forced to marry at six years of age.  The report underscores the negative impact of early marriage on health especially given the risks of repeated and forced pregnancy which is directly linked to maternal and infant mortality.

Source: Al-Akhbar 2 September 2014

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