Bangladesh’s new child marriage law that allows parents to force their girls to marry their rapists has sparked wide-scale international condemnation. Many organizations tweeted against it.
The new child marriage law keeps the minimum marriageable age for males at 21 and for females at 18 but relaxes the restriction for “special circumstances,” including for girls who elope, are raped or bear children out of wedlock, according to international observers.
‘‘This law is a devastating step backward for the fight against child marriage in Bangladesh, which has the highest rate of child marriage in Asia,’’ Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement last week.
Marking the law as ”disappointing,” Girls Not Brides, a global alliance of 650 charities, has posted the following messages on Twitter:
— Girls Not Brides (@GirlsNotBrides) February 28, 2017
— Girls Not Brides (@GirlsNotBrides) March 5, 2017
The Child Marriage Restraint Act, passed by the Bangladeshi parliament last week, replaced a law dating back to the British colonial period. UNICEF in Bangladesh has said it “remains concerned” about the special provision of the law, and its potential impact on children’s wellbeing.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) March 5, 2017
— BRAC (@BRACworld) March 6, 2017
— Plan International (@PlanGlobal) March 1, 2017
More than 50 percent of girls in Bangladesh are married before the age of 18, which is the highest in South Asia, compared to 47 percent in India, 37 percent in Nepal and 33 percent in Afghanistan, according to the Girls Not Brides group.
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Photo: SAM Nasim