Parents guilty of child, forced marriages to face imprisonment

September 6, 2019

TEHRAN – Legislation in Iran considers imprisonment for those parents guilty of causing a forced or child marriage, secretary of the National Convention on the Rights of the Child has announced.

According to the Iranian civil code, the legal age of marriage in the country is 13 for girls and 15 for boys.

Although, attempts have been made to change this age to 18, which must be approved by the Majlis (the Iranian parliament); no results have yet been achieved. 

Some MPs are discussing on the age of 15 but the majority are trying to approve the age of 18 as the minimum official age.

If a child under the current official marriage age decides to marry, the judiciaries should first issue a permit considering their emotional and intellectual growth, IRNA quoted Mahmoud Abbasi as saying on Wednesday.

“Children under 15 must play, educate and go to school at this age; we should not assign them heavy responsibilities of a house; this is an act of violence against the child,” he highlighted.

He went on to say that basically, religious authorities also consider the marriage of children under the proper age invalid, so it is by no means justified in an Islamic country to do so as some try to justify such actions.

Child marriage have nothing to do with religion, but is a cultural issue and must be pursued by judicial system, he noted, adding, however, child marriage is happening in some regions of the country.

To resolve the issue, cultural approaches are required, notably, holding training courses to make people aware of the consequences, he said.

He further called on all prosecutors across the country to take serious action in case of any child or forced marriage and punish the violators, and also called on the social workers to take steps toward promotion of marriage culture and proper marriage age.

He also expressed hope that the legislators would step in to take further measures to protect children's rights.

Over the past few days, a video went viral in social media showing a 9-year-old girl getting married to a 29-year-old man in Bahmai county, western Kohgiluyeh and Boyerahmad province. It has so far raised many reactions.

After the incident, the provincial supreme court of justice identified the couple and their families within 12 hours after the video released and declared the marriage as invalid.

Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children. More than 1 in 3 – or some 250 million – were married before 15. Girls who marry before they turn 18 are less likely to remain in school and more likely to experience domestic violence. Young teenage girls are more likely to die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth than

women in their 20s; their infants are more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month of life.

Child marriage in Iran is between the ages of 10 to 14, IRNA quoted Sina Kalhor, head of the Majlis research center, adding a total number of 37,137 child marriages are registered in Iran in the calendar year 1394 (March 2015-2016).

The statistics is related to all 31 provinces of Iran, and Khorasan Razavi stands at the first position having the maximum number of child marriage in the country.

Although little data is available on child marriage in Iran, UNICEF estimates that approximately 17% of Iranian girls are married before the age of 18. The numbers may be even higher as many families in Iran do not register births or underage marriages.

According to Iran’s Association of Children’s Rights, which is an NGO, the number of girls married in Iran under the age of 15 went from 33,383 in 2006 to 43,459 in 2009, a 30% increase in three years. This is due to deepening poverty and parents’ desire to control their daughter’s sexuality.


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