The Jakarta Post
Amid campaigns to eradicate rampant child marriages in the country, a minister has called on the House of Representatives to prioritize a revision of the 1974 Marriage Law, seeking to raise the minimum age at which women can marry.
During a meeting with House Commission VIII overseeing religious and social affairs, Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Yembise emphasized the importance of the revision, which was expected to end cases of child marriages in the country.
"A proposal to revise the Marriage Law has been listed in the 2015-2019 national legislation program, but it is not included in the 2018 priority," Yohana told lawmakers as quoted by kompas.com on Monday.
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The 1974 Marriage Law sets a minimum legal marriage age of 16 years for women and 19 years for men. However, in some parts of Indonesia, girls as young as 13 years old can marry legally with parental consent and judicial approval.
According to UNICEF, one in nine Indonesian girls are married before their 18th birthday every year.
Women and children rights activists have repeatedly called on the government to seriously address child marriage, arguing that the practice perpetuates the cycle of poverty, and threatens the chances for girls to obtain a higher education and gain access to decent jobs.
In 2015, however, the Constitutional Court (MK) rejected a request filed by a coalition of civil society groups to raise the minimum age for girls to marry from 16 to 18, on the grounds that it would not be a guaranteed solution to health and social problems. (afr/swd)