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Marriage of girls under 18 is a reproduction of poverty, ignorance and disease — Fakhoury

Planning minister attends launch ceremony of study on early marriage, calls for swift action

By JT - Jul 31,2017 - Last updated at Jul 31,2017

Planning and International Cooperation Minister Imad Fakhoury attends the launch ceremony of the study ‘Marriage of minors in Jordan’ in Amman on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Planning and International Cooperation Ministry)

AMMAN — Planning and International Cooperation Minister Imad Fakhoury on Sunday condemned child marriage as “a reproduction of poverty, ignorance and disease”, according to a ministry statement.   

During the launch ceremony of the study “Marriage of minors in Jordan” on Sunday, Fakhoury said that the study aims to highlight the extent of early marriage among Jordanians and non-Jordanians, to identify its causes and effects, and consult specialists to reach proposals that will contribute to combating the negative phenomenon.

The minister commended the study as a “remarkable” effort of the Higher Population Council, the Department of Statistics, the National Committee for Women Affairs and the National Council for Family Affairs, the statement said.

“The marriage of girls under the age of 18 is a reproduction of poverty, ignorance and disease for themselves and their children,” Fakhoury said. 

New regulations recently issued by the Cabinet to regulate the legal age for early marriage for girls have drawn criticism from activists and women groups in Jordan, with many describing it as a “step backwards”.

The regulations replace a previous legislation issued in 2011 that specified the age of marriage for boys and girls along with other matters related to the marriage of youngsters. In 2002, several changes were made to the Personal Status Law including raising the legal age of marriage for men and women to 18 from 15 for women and 16 for men, but the changes still allowed exceptions.

The new regulations addressed the exceptions of allowing the marriage between the age of 15 and 18. They included provisions that allow a maximum 15-year, and less, age difference between the husband and the wife, provided that the would-be husband is not married and that marriage would not prevent the girl from pursuing her education.

Under the suggested law, the judge will have the authority to decide if tying the knot to girls between 15 and 18 would be in their best interest and permit the registration of the marriage contract. 

The court is also entitled to explain to the girl that she has the right “to place conditions that will be to her benefit”. 

The regulations also stipulated that the newlyweds should present a certificate that they both attended a workshop on marriage beforehand, organised by the Iftaa Department. 

The planning minister, who is also President of the Higher Population Council, stressed the negative health, social and psychological effects of early marriage and the potential risks of subsequent pregnancy. 

The marriage of minors has serious economic effects on the safety and well-being of families that affect the education and care of children, leading to neglect, displacement,  to an environment that generates violence, according to Fakhoury.

The minister outlined a number of reasons behind the marriage of minors including social traditions, the financial situation of the girl’s family, especially in the Syrian refugee community.

The phenomenon requires raising awareness about the negative effects of this type of marriage, the need to provide basic rights including the access to education through non-formal education, as well as supporting and developing reproductive health programmes, Fakoury said.

He called for all concerned institutions to join efforts to raise awareness , and adopt educational and health programmes, the statement added.

To address this phenomenon, Fakhoury said, the plan should include reducing  drop out rate of female students and raising the compulsory education to the high school stage. It should entail the preparation and implementation of a comprehensive awareness plan on the marriage of minors, and its negative effects on individuals, families, children and society in general.

Financial support for the families of girls who resort to marry their daughters because of poverty and poor material resources should also be implemented, the minister added, in conjunction with guidance and family education.

The minister also called for the preparation of a national strategy to reduce this type of marriage.

“Last week, I was honoured to head a Jordanian delegation that included representatives of civil society organisations, human, women and youth rights in order to present the Jordan National Voluntary Report, which was prepared in a participatory manner with ‘all’, during the high-level political forum in the UN and in the presence of all member states,” Fakhoury said. 

He added that, during the forum, Jordan presented a road map to implement the sustainable development agenda 2030, one aspect of which emphasised the importance of women’s empowerment, equality and gender integration in national development plans and programmes.

 

The number of Jordanians who married under the age of 18 is 253,155, accounting for 17.6 per cent of the total number of married women, the ministry statement said. As for Syrian girls there are 113,370 married girls, which accounts for 39.5 per cent of married Syrian refugee women.

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I disagree there mukhadir. Label-casteing our offspring as cognitive deficients and imbeciles when they are learning causes psychiatric disorder. So no, you're wrong there.

Whoever disagrees that child marriage is “a reproduction of poverty, ignorance and disease” has a poverty-stricken mindset, is purely ignorant, and is a disease to the society.

Well, I have to disagree on the grounds of protecting the rights of our children to marry older. I agree that some children might feel that they are being coerced into a capital (monetary gains) or a hurry and scurry marriage, and I am totally for protecting them against unvirtuous terror and nightmare marriages. But we disagree on whether or not to use labels. As a protective measure to ensure our children don't get upset, I am against using casteation and damnation labels and stygmatizing our children. However, because you're scum, you don't care, which is probably why you don't have any children of your own.

"Under the suggested law, the judge will have the authority to decide if tying the knot to girls between 15 and 18 would be in their best interest and permit the registration of the marriage contract." Anyone on the ground working with these girls knows that all this will mean is that 99% of the cases presented will automatically get pushed through to marriage. This was the case after 2002, where the legal age for girls was raised to 18. As long as a judge saw that a Sheik had signed, he would sign too. I would estimate only 1% of underage marriages being presented before judges were actually denied. Suicide attempts do not put the breaks on families pushing their daughters into the marriages either, nor due to previous cases where the girl had an older sister whose uterus' ruptured (the family will take their chances and obtain the gold). Even in a young girl is informed of her rights, she will often be too afraid to go against her family's wishes. She is simply too young and vulnerable to stand up for herself. This is why the legal age should be raised to 18 with no exceptions, unless the girl has finished all years of high school. The last family I talked to who said the husband would allow the 16 year old to complete school admitted there was no plan for her to take birth control so the reality is that the girl will just get pregnant and not be able to complete her studies (no matter what is agreed to). Where I am, there is also an increasing rate of girls simply getting returned to their families once the man becomes bored of them (sometimes while they are pregnant). Underage marriage is simply human trafficking. It should not be able to hide behind the word "tradition" any more but should be called what it really is. If the girl is too young to vote why should she be considered mature enough to consent to marriage?

THIS ARTICLE HAS OPPENED A DESIRABLE CANS OF WORMS THE INTERESTING DEBATE. DOES MY FRIENDS IN JORDAN HONESTLY THINK THAT SELLING A 12 YEARS OLD GIRIL TO ANY MAN FOR MARRIAGE HAS ANY VALUE PSYCHOSOCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY NEVER MIND THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUCH A PROGRESSIVE COUNTRY LIKE JORDAN. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY ANY NORMAL PERSON LIVING IN THIS CENTURY CAN EVEN DEFEND THIS. FOR THE 12 YEAR GIRL WHO CLAIMS TO BE WEALTHY AND LOVE HER HUSBAND, I CAN SAY THAT SHE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE HAD FOR HER IF SHE HAD CONTINUED WITH HER EDUCATION, CONTRIBUTE TO THE SOCIETY WITH HER INTELLECTUAL POWER AND BE A PART OF CIVILIZATION. HIS HONORABLE MINISTER, MR FAKHOURY IS DOING HIS JOB AND DOING IT EXCELLENT. MAN IS A MAN IN A SOCIETY AND SO MAN OUTSIDE ANY SOCIETY IS EITHER A GOD OR A BEAST. WE ARE ALL IN A SOCIETY IN THIS WORLD AND GOVERNED BY LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS THAT ARE NOT A CONSTANT. THEY ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGES AND THE JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT HAS BOTH LEGAL AND MORAL OBLIGATIONS TO UPDATE AND UPGRADE THE POWER AND PRODUCTIVITY OF EVERY CITIZEN. IF ANY FAMILY OR PERSONS WANT TO CONTINUE TO LIVE IN DARK AGES, LET THEM KEEP IT TO THEIR SELF AND FAMILY BECAUSE JORDANIANS WANTS TO MOVE ALONG WITH TIME BECAUSE TIME CHANGES EVERY THING. ANY MARRIAGE BETWEEN A MINOR AND ANY DIRTY OLD MAN IS TERMED STATUTORY RAPE WHICH CARRIES AN AUTHOMATIC JAIL TERM AND THIS SHOULD STOP AMONG ALL NATIONS THAT ARE SIGNATORY TO THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHT TREATIES AND OBLIGATIONS. MONEY DOES NOT BUY OR REPLACE LOVE BUT IN FACT CAN DESTROY ANY NATION IF MISUSED. YOU MAY HATE THE FACT WHICH IS THAT ANY MARRIAGE BETWEEN A 12 YER OLD AND ANY MAN IS A CRIME AND MR FAKHOURY IS ABSOLUTELY ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO CLEAN UP ALL THE LEFT OVERS FROM THE MEDIVAL ERA AND WE SHOULD ALL SALUTE HIS MAJESTY THAT HAS OPENED JORDAN FOR MODERNIZATION, ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT AND ABSOLUTE INDEPENDENCE. ITS ALARMING TO READ SOME OD THE CRITIS OF THIS POLICY. WE SHOULD BE GRATEFUL AND PRAISE OUR LEADERS WHEN ACT AND DO THE RIGHT THINGS.

Yeah. We Arab girls will petition for orders of protection if you try emotionally fondling us and meddling with our sexual affairs and persuading us not to marry older men when we want to. We don't take child fondlers very kindly.

Leave our daughters alone! If they want to marry older men, then they have that choice! We Arabs don't don't think like you pro-Western Chancerico-Byzantio-Romano queer. I know, the petty narcissist will say we are jealous, but we're not the ones eating dirt and dying faster than everyone else! Hahahaha! Sucker! See you on the battle field...Oh wait, a true Chancery persuader and influencer won't go on the battle field, he will be sneaky and persuade, allure, and influence his government instead of going out on the field. See you in the Nicarguan front page! A-cooca-racha! A-cooca-racha!

I'm 12 and married to my husband of an older demographic and we are happily married and are wealthy. I love him and he loves me and we have plans to have children soon inshallah. Please don't insult us with age related incapability labelling of the likes of the such of the diatribical Romans and petty English peddler men. We know their psychology, and it is unfortunate that they turned out that way.

THANKS MR FAKHOURY AND NOW THE BALL IS IN YOUR GOVERNMENT HANDS TO MAKE THIS CRIME AGAINST YOUNG GIRLS PUNISHABLE BY JAIL TIME AND FINES.

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