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Jakarta Post

'Nikah siri' hampers efforts to end child marriage

  • Ivany Atina Arbi, Andi Hajramurni and Ruslan Sangadji

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta, Makassar, Palu   /   Thu, February 13, 2020   /  02:57 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
The House of Representatives revised the 1974 Marriage Law to increase the minimum marriageable age of women from 16 to 19 in September 2019.(Shutterstock/File)

Indonesia's Marriage Law prohibits children under 19 to wed unless they secure court approval, but many opt to bypass the lengthy process with nikah siri (traditional, unregulated marriage), which activists say has contributed to the high number of child marriages in Indonesia. Surianti, 52, from Makassar, South Sulawesi, decided to marry off her daughters Desi and Nurdillah through nikah siri to avoid procedural hurdles at the Religious Affairs Office (KUA), as they had yet to reach the minimum marriageable age. Both Desi and Nurdillah got married when they were 14. "I didn't visit the KUA because I knew they wouldn't grant me permission. My daughters were still very young," Surianti said. Instead, she sought the help of a Muslim leader in her neighborhood to help arrange the nikah siri for her daughters and paid Rp 1 million (US$72) for each of the unregi...