21 November 2016, 11:10
Kyrgyzstan bans religious marriages with minors
Bishkek, November 21, Interfax - Kyrgyzstan has introduced a criminal liability for child marriages performed according to religious rites.
President Almazbek Atambayev signed a law introducing changes to the country's Family and Criminal Codes, the president's press office told Interfax on Saturday. "The law imposes criminal liability on those who enter into marriage with minors and also on the clergy and the parents for participating in the religious consecration of marriage with minors in the event where the marriageable-age requirements of the Family Code have been violated," the official said.
The law signed by the president was accepted by the parliament "to prevent child marriages by banning consecration of religious marriages involving minors," he said.
Violation of the law entails punishment in the form of three to five years of imprisonment.
During parliamentary debate of the law, it was noted that it aims primarily to protect young girls from Muslim families which for various, often social, reasons marry them off at a young age in a religious wedding ceremony. This trend has become widespread across the country over the past few years. Marriages are consecrated according to Muslim rites because legal registration of marriages to someone under the marriageable age is banned in Kyrgyzstan.
Introducing criminal liability for marriages with minors will help protect their rights "to life, health, education, development and reaching the minimum marriageable age, preventing child marriages will help protect the child from all possible forms of violence, including physical, mental and sexual," the authors of the law said.
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