Egyptian Cabinet Approves Law Criminalizing Child Marriage

The government of Egypt announced a law on the prohibition of child marriage aimed at curbing this “negative phenomenon” in the society and the violators will be fined and put behind bars.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli chaired the session of the cabinet of ministers on Tuesday and they approved a draft law criminalizing child marriage.

“The bill is aimed at putting an end to this negative phenomenon, as children under 18 years are not psychologically, culturally, mentally and physically qualified to raise a family,” said Egypt State Information Service, the official media body.

Based on the law, children who get married or any person helping them to marry should be punished by imprisonment for a term of no less than one year, as well as a fine ranging between EGP 50,000 and EGP 200,000.

The bill also provides that any marriage officer who authorizes a contract for children under 18 years should be sacked, and sentenced to a jail term of no less than six months and ordered to pay a fine of no less than EGP 20,000 and not more than EGP 50,000.

Child marriage is rampant in Egypt, which has the 13th highest incident rate globally. While couples can only officially register for marriage when both parties are 18, the practice continues with unregistered marriages in a custom known as urfi, an illegal practice that Egypt is seeking to ban it fully.

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