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Child marriage legally outlawed in the Philippines

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Child marriage has been outlawed in the Philippines. (via iranintl.com)

In the Philippines, one in every 6 girls get married before the age of 18. But on Thursday, child marriage became illegal in the country as a new ban went into place. The Philippines is saddled with gender inequality and a culture that has long accepted child marriage as a common practice.

In fact, Plan International, a British rights group, said that the Philippines has the 12th highest amount of child marriage in the world. But now President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the new ban on child marriages with harsh consequences for violators.

Those caught marrying or living with someone under the age of 18 can be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison, and those who assist by arranging a marriage or officiating a wedding ceremony with an underage bride can receive the same prison term.

The new law reframes child marriage not as a cultural tradition but a form of child abuse, saying that it “debases, degrades, and demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of children.” The Philippine government says this new law brings the country in line with international standards regarding the rights of women and children.

The United Nations Children’s Fund issued a report last year that last year more than half a billion girls were involved in child marriages around the world. Though the tradition of child marriages is declining in popularity in most parts of the world, it’s still a significant problem in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

While the law went into effect on Thursday, there have been some parts of the law that have been delayed from going into effect right away, allowing for a one year transitional period for child marriages in indigenous communities and amongst Muslim people, two demographics where children being married is fairly common.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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    Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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