UN report slams Iran’s child marriage practices, calls its legal marriage age as “simply unacceptable”

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On the occasion of International Women’s Day, UN independent investigator, Javaid Rehman, released a report highlighting the issue of child marriage practises, which were still prevalent in Iran. Rehman called the country’s current legal marriage age “simply unacceptable”. He said, “One of the most concerning issues in Iran today, when it comes to the rights of women and girls, is the issue of child marriage. The current legal marriage age is simply unacceptable.”

His report highlighted the regime’s official figures, which showed that in past six months over 16,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 got married in Iran. The figure strongly reflected about the treatment of women and girls in the country. Rehman, who worked as the UN special rapporteur in Islamic Republic to investigate its human rights record said, “Violence against women, patriarchal values and misogynist behaviors permeate many segments of Iranian life, with discriminatory legal provisions exacerbating the vulnerabilities of women to domestic abuse.”

As per the current law, the regime allows the marriage of girls aged 13, But even the girls younger than that can also be married given the approval of their parents or court. Through his report he urged the authorities to raise the minimum age for marriage and asked them “to introduce further policies and programmes to reduce this practice”. He said, “It is clear that child marriage is harmful for the development and well-being of girls, including in terms of education, employment and to live free of violence.”

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Rehman presented his report again at UN rights conference in Geneva on Tuesday, attracting international attention to the issue widespread abuses in Iran. Though over the years Tehran has amended laws for the betterment of its women for instance the recent anti-violence law which is lying in front of Iranian parliament for approval but lots need to be done to provide better protection and more empowerment to Iranian women.

He said, “Blatant discrimination exists in Iranian law and practice that must change. In several areas of their lives, including in marriage, divorce, employment and culture, Iranian women are either restricted or need permission from their husbands or paternal guardians, depriving them of their autonomy and human dignity.”

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