The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday (Jan 30) approved a bill, presented by Senator Sherry Rehman, seeking amendment in Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 and looking to raise the minimum age for marriage in the country to 18 years, despite the legal age in country which is sixteen years.
“This bill has been presented in order to stop child marriage. A similar legislation was already adopted by the Sindh Assembly. This bill, however, will also apply to Islamabad,” Senator Rehman said. “Eighteen years should be declared the age of adulthood in the country and the world ‘child’ should be clarified,” she said, noting that 21 per cent of child deaths in the country are caused by childhood marriages.
Earlier according to a recent report issued by World Health Organisation (WHO) titled ‘Demographics of child marriages in Pakistan’ states that 21 recent girls under 18 are victims of child marriages in Pakistan especially in the rural areas. It is further revealed that more than 140 million underage girls are likely to get married between 2011 to 2020. The report states that “child marriage remains a serious concern in Pakistan, with 21 per cent of the girls getting married before reaching the age of 18 especially in the rural areas”. The formal marriage or informal marriage occurs before the age of 18 throughout the world, the report said. However, being forced into marriage before one was able to give consent, violates the basic human rights of boys and girls, it added.
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17 November, 2019