Indonesia To Ban Underage Marriage

The Indonesian government planned to issue a Peperpu (regulation in lieu of law) on underage marriages to reduce sexual offence cases against women and children, an official said on Thursday. Women Empowerment and Children Protection Minister, Yohana Yembise, said that the process to draft the amendment on Indonesia’s 1974 Marriage Law that allowed 16-year-old girls to wed was underway. This coming few days after the celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child where a report by Save the Child indicated that over 12,000 children marry every day with 1 getting amerried every 7 seconds.

The Indonesian minister said that rate of underage marriages was high in several parts of the country.

“The issuance of the Peperpu was urgent to support our efforts in preventing underage marriages and to protect young girls from violence,’’ Yembise said.

He said that results of research conducted by British group, Coram Children’s Legal Centre (CCLC), in Indonesia’s West Java city of Bogor, showed that in 2015, 38 per cent of women were married before they turned 18.

Another data jointly issued by Indonesia’s Central Statistics Agency (BPS) and the UNESCO in 2015 showed that 23 per cent of Indonesian girls under 18 years old had already married. The average number of underage marriage couples stood at 340,000 per year.

The minister added that planned issuance of the Peperpu was related to the recently-enacted law on castration and death penalty against child sex crime convicts. According to the minister, underage marriage pose higher risk for the females as it may lead to damage on their reproduction organs, domestic violence, low education and psychological issue.

Indonesia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) that requires countries to abolish marriages of youngsters before 18 years old under health concerns

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