Jordan lawmakers debate changes to law permitting child marriage

Jordan lawmakers debate changes to law permitting child marriage
2 min read
10 December, 2018
Jordan's lower house of parliament has started deliberations over changes to the country' Civil Status Law.
The proposed bill features a number of amendments to marriage practice [AFP]

Jordan's lawmakers, on Sunday, began deliberations on amending to the country's Civil Status Law, which includes raising the age that Sharia judges can grant marriage permits from 15 to 16.

The new changes would also allow people with mental disabilities to obtain marriage permits from judges.

Those seeking a marriage permit under such conditions would require medical proof that the marriage is in their best interests, that the condition is not hereditary, and that they do not pose a danger to their potential spouse,  Jordan's official Petra news agency reported.

Also falling under the proposed bill is a stipulation that courts must inform wives about whether their husband had married another spouse after a marriage takes place.

Women engaged to a man who is already married must also be made aware of her fiancee's marital status, according to the ammendment.

Spouses-to-be will be given the option to attend a training course regulated by Jordan's chief Islamic justice.

According to child marriage NGO Girls Not Brides, approximately 8 percent of girls in Jordan are married before the age of 18.

The rate of child marriage has dramatically increased, however, due to regional instability and war in neighbouring countries.

Syrian refugee families are some of those most vulnerable to the pressures of child marriage due to the threat of sexual violence against unmarried girls.

According to UNICEF, around a third of all refugee marriages in Jordan involve a girl under-18.