Jordan: activists launch anti-child marriage campaign

10,000 children coerced into marriage very year in the country

19 April, 12:50

    AMMAN - Human rights activists launched a campaign to combat early child marriage in Jordan as the phenomena grows out of control due to rising poverty and arrival of refugees from neighboring countries.
    Over 10,000 girls under the age 18 are married in Jordan every year, according to figures provided by Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI), the organization behind the initiative against child marriage.
    Called "Nujoud" in reference to a notorious case of a Yemeni girl was coerced to marriage at the tinder age of 10 and got divorced months later, to become the youngest ever divorced in the world. Pundits for anti-child marriage are lobbying for the parliament to abolish an article in the law that allows marriage of children under age 18 and deprive judges from the right to make exemptions of marriage.
    Jordan's tribal community has allowed for the early marriage to continue despite improvement in human rights law, as the parliament is dominated by conservative leaders, say human rights activists.
    The arrival of refugees from Syria has added to the phenomena, with families from the war stricken country often forced to marry their children to obtain legal rights and secure stable future for them in the new environment.
    The difficult economic situation has forced many families to marry their daughters for some financial gains and to avoid spending on them, but activists say such actions should be considered a crime.
    According to SIGI's executive director Asma Khader "early marriage for financial gains could be considered human trafficking. Khader claim that figures indicate that "we have around 30 girls wed every day in Jordan who are under the age of 18".

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