Statement on child marriage (GD Item3)
Mr. President, Child marriage is one of the most brutal violence of the rights of the child especially those of the girl brides. In the last Iranian year (21 March 2012 to 21 March 2013) alone, 40,651 girls under 15 years of age were married legally in the Islamic Republic of Iran, out of which 187 were under 10 years old. In the same period, 359 boys under the age of 15 were married. We would also like to express our very deep concerns on the changes to the Bill on the adoption of children under state care in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which came into force on 23 October 2013. This law allows marriage between a child and legal guardian, when a child has reached maturity, and marriage with the guardian is in his/her best interest. This would mean that a step father can marry his adoptive daughter as young as 13 years of age. This law in combination with other marriage laws such as the Sigheh or temporary marriage, which does not even require official registration, makes adoptive girls specifically vulnerable to sexual abuse at home. In the Islamic Republic of Iran the age of criminal responsibility was 8 years and 9 months for girls and 14 and 7 months for boys. This has changed in the new Islamic Penal Code, which gives authority to the judge to decide on the maturity of every individual minor. Furthermore, girls and boys under 18 years of age are not allowed to make complaints to the courts. Only the male guardian, in many cases the same person who abuses the child, is allowed to make a complaint on behalf of the child. Sudwind urges all countries that still have child marriage in their legal systems to immediately prohibit this severe violation of the rights of the child; raise broad awareness on the severe impact of child marriage; and to prevent child marriage from happening by supporting poor families.