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SUHAKAM calls for ban on child marriages

Graphic: A bride holds her husband's hand to her face

SUHAKAM Chairpersion Tan Sri Razali Ismail has emphasised that child marriage is a “complete violation of a child’s human rights”.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has said that it does not support the government's proposal to standardise the screening process for marriages involving minors.

SUHAKAM Chairpersion Tan Sri Razali Ismail said that such an approach would only perpetuate the practice of child marriage in Malaysia.

"SUHAKAM is disappointed that the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has failed to recognise these serious consequences and has continued to be ineffective in enforcing a minimum age for marriage at 18 despite the shocking number of child marriages in Malaysia," Razali said in a statement.

He emphasised that child marriage is a "complete violation of a child's human rights".

"SUHAKAM maintains that child marriage must be made a crime as child marriage can be used to justify sex with a child. SUHAKAM would like to highlight that child brides, incapable of consenting to sex, can also be raped in the act of consummation of the marriage," Razali said.

"On the right to freedom of religion, SUHAKAM would like to point out that religious practices are subject to Article 11(5) of the Federal Constitution whereby any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality shall not be authorized," he said.

With sufficient political will, Razali added, it is possible for child marriages to be criminalised at all levels in the country.

"SUHAKAM calls on the Ministry to be steadfast in the protection of children's rights, and to be consistent in the government's position in its manifesto to introduce a law that sets 18 as the minimum age of marriage."

Date: 6 July 2018

Source: SUHAKAM


Image credits

  1. A bride holds her husband's hand to her face - mfazil71, Flickr Creative Commons