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Jakarta Post

Minister deplores marriage of teenager with elderly woman

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 5, 2017   /   04:36 pm
Minister deplores marriage of teenager with elderly woman Making ends meet: Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa (standing, left) observes the delivery of non-cash assistance in Jombang, East Java, on June 23. (JP/Wahyoe Boediwardhana)

Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa has deplored the marriage between an underage boy with a 71-year-old woman in Lengkiti Sub-district, Ogan Komering Ulu regency, South Sumatra.

A video recording of the marriage between 16-year-old Selamat Riyadi and Rohaya, 71, went viral online, spreading quickly through social media and online messaging platforms.

"A team from the Social Affairs Ministry checked and found that they held an unofficial wedding, thus they don't have a marriage deed. It's not possible for them to marry in a KUA [Religious Affairs Office], because the groom is still underage," Khofifah said in a statement on Wednesday.

A representative of the Social Affair Ministry in the regency has visited the couple's home to verify their marriage. A statement letter by Selamat and Rohaya said they had organized an unregistered marriage, locally known as nikah siri, in Karang Endah village. They were wed by Ibnu Hajar, Rohaya's guardian, and witnessed by Komarudin and Charles.

The 1974 Marriage Law stipulates that women must be at least 16 and men at least 19 to marry. However, it allows younger people to marry if their parents request permission from the Religious Court.

Khofifah said the age requirement seeks to protect children's basic rights, such as education, as well as to ensure that couples are prepared and meet the physical and mental requirements to sustain a marriage.

"The law also says that marriage registration officials should not assist in a marriage when they know that there's a violation of the minimum age requirement to marry," she said. (afr)