#Bangladesh: New law must outlaw all marriages involving children, say MEPs

MEPs note with concern the adoption of the Child Marriage Restraint Act, which has loopholes providing for “legal authorisation for child marriage” in Bangladesh, the country with the highest rate of child marriage in Asia. The Act allows exceptions to the minimum age of marriage of 18 for women and 21 for men to be made in “the best interests” of the adolescent in “special cases” but fails to lay down criteria or to make the adolescent’s consent mandatory.

Parliament reaffirms its condemnation of all cases of forced and child marriage and calls on the government of Bangladesh to amend the Act so as to close the loopholes and outlaw all marriages involving children. It is worried by the “step backwards for Bangladesh in its efforts to eliminate child marriage” and urges the government of Bangladesh to commit to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, including ensuring gender equality and women’s rights.

ALDE MEP, Dita Charanzová (ANO, Czech Republic), who asked for this issue to be debated in plenary, said: “Child marriage is a violation of human rights. Bangladesh knows this and has tried to reduce levels of child marriage. However, creating special conditions for children to marry is not a solution. There can be no special cases when it comes to upholding human rights. The Bangladeshi authorities must act now to ensure these exceptions to the ban are clearly defined and very difficult to use.”

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Category: A Frontpage, Bangladesh, EU, European Parliament, World

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