The Jakarta Post
Women’s rights advocacy group Institut KAPAL Perempuan has called on members of the public to join the effort to implement the country's 12-year compulsory education policy, which is part of the government's plan to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To commemorate this year’s National Education Day, Institut KAPAL Perempuan director Misiyah warned that one of biggest challenges Indonesia faced now was the growing number of marriages among children under 18 years old, which has become an obstacle to the government’s successful efforts to achieve its 12-year compulsory education program.
The activist said rampant practice of early marriage in Indonesia was rooted in the 1974 Marriage Law, which set 16 as the legal age for females to marry. Poor awareness of the risks of child marriage and weak public control over the problem aggravate the situation.
“Hence, we must ring ‘an alarm’ as loud as possible to prevent and end child marriage practices in Indonesia,” said Misiyah in a statement on Wednesday.
According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2016, Indonesia ranks seventh among countries with the highest rates of child marriage.
Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data in 2015 reveals that one in every five Indonesian women aged between 20 and 24 years had gotten married before their 18th birthday. This accounts for around 23 percent of the total population in that age group. In West Sulawesi, the percentage is much higher, standing at 34.22 percent.
“This contradicts the 2014 Child Protection Law, which mandates the protection of children aged under 18 years from marriage,” said Misiyah. (ebf)