A law on prohibition of child marriages is entering in its active phase of implementation
On February 13, 2018 Child’s Rights Defenders League (the League), with the support of UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic and the British Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, held a roundtable where representatives of authorized state bodies, international organizations and public organizations discussed further actions and activities to prevent child marriages and the protection of their rights with a view to eradicating this problem.
Participants see the need for joint implementation of the Plan to enforce the law on the prohibition of marriage rituals with minors, which will lead to effective implementation of the Plan, which in turn helps to eradicate early marriages in Kyrgyzstan.
Throughout the world, child marriage is considered discriminatory that severely violates the rights of children. 2 out of 100 maternal deaths studied in Kyrgyzstan were that of young women under 18 years old. In 2014, approximately 12.7% of Kyrgyzstani women aged 20-49 years old got married before adulthood. In terms of the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15-19, Kyrgyzstan ranks second among 8 CIS countries after Azerbaijan.
In November 2016, a new Clause was introduced into the Criminal Code of KR banning religious rites for child marriage consecration. A person conducting child marriage religious rites, the child’s parents and an adult groom are punishable by imprisonment for 3 - 5 years. Currently, there are already cases of criminal prosecution under this Clause and conviction by the court of those, who have violated the legislation on marriageable age and conducted religious rites for child marriage.
From September 2017 to February 2018, as part of the project “Promoting democracy and stability in Kyrgyzstan through an improved legal mechanism” under the Project Component “Support for implementation of the law on prohibition of child marriage rites” (“On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Kyrgyz Republic” (Family Code of KR, Criminal Code of KR) of 17 November 2016, No. 179) the League actively promoted further implementation of the law banning child marriage rites with the support from the British Embassy. During this period of work, the League held a number of successful working and advocacy meetings, which eventually led to signing the Plan for Enforcement of the Law. The plan was signed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism, Ombudsman, Ministry of Health, State Commission for Religion, State Agency for Youth, Physical Culture and Sports. According to the plan, the police and schools of the country from now on will independently conduct preventive and precautionary measures aimed to prevent early and child marriages. These activities were previously supported by women's and human right organizations throughout the country.
In addition, the League experts trained more than 100 representatives of law enforcement bodies, education, social protection and health authorities, as well as representatives of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kyrgyzstan, Attorney Association and public organizations on prevention of child marriages. A staff of the above structures will further respond to a violation of this legislation in a timely manner.