Child Marriage Restraint Act 2016 also contradictory: Activists

On November 24, the cabinet approved a draft of the Child Marriage Restraint Act 2016, chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office.  According to the proposed law, anyone under 18 years of age in general will be considered a child.

The new draft legislation also includes a provision allowing child marriage in special cases, such as if a girl becomes pregnant accidentally or illegally, where a marriage will be allowed to protect her “honour”.

Activists have therefore been widely critical of the 2016 Act, as they believe it fails to address the problem of child marriage. Many believe that the act would in fact increase incidences of child marriage rather than reduce it.

Human rights activist Sultana Kamal said “the act would encourage child marriage rather than stop it.” Gender expert Fawzia Khondker Eva also stressed that loopholes in the new act would be detrimental to efforts preventing child marriage.

The activists urged the government to review the clause.


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