Egypt to issue law criminalizing child marriage by 2021
Tuesday، 01 December 2020 - 12:07 PM
Egypt’s government is planning on issuing a law criminalizing child marriage, as well as stiffening the penalty for girls’ early marriage, to include everyone involved in the crime as the father or the girls’ guardian.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli revealed this during a ministerial meeting, Monday Nov 30 as part of the government strategy and executive plan of the national project of family planning 2021-2023 which will be submitted to the president to be launched by 2021.
Attended at the meeting, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat, Social Solidarity Minister Nevin Al Qabbaj, Health Minister Hala Zayed, Minister of State for Information Osama Heikal, Planning Minister Hala el Saeed, and President of the National Council for Woman Maya Morsy.
Madbouli pointed out that the meeting comes within the framework of the government's implementation of the national strategy to control population growth and deal with its negative consequences on the development march.
Saeed, for her part, reviewed the suggested plan which is based on five axes; achieving economic empowerment, digital transformation, service intervention, cultural intervention, legislative intervention and media and educational intervention.
Meanwhile, Director of the Demographic Center Amira Tawadros said the economic empowerment axis targets women whose age ranges between 18 and 45 by funding 60,000 small enterprises, 20,000 of which are for women who benefitted from the family planning program.
Meantime, Zayed said the Health Ministry's plan is based on four axes which are offering various positive stimulus, benefitting from the presidential initiative for women's health, following the mother’s health, and spreading the culture of child spacing.
Different draft laws have been discussed in Egypt’s parliament since 2017 for issuing a law to criminalize girls’ early marriage; however, these laws have seen a lot of controversial opinions.
The first draft bill to criminalize child marriage was proposed by MP Abla El Hawary in 2017 and discussed by the Parliament's Constitutional and Legislation Affairs Committee.
The draft bill introduced amendments to five laws in the Constitution. Topping the laws are the right of guardianship and custody for children (family law).
In January 2020, another draft bill was proposed by MP Kamal Amer, Chairman of the Defense and National Security Committee in the House of Representatives.
The bill calls on criminalizing the children marriage [those under the age of 18 years], as one of the crimes of violence against women, as well as stiffening the penalty to become imprisonment and a fine of not less than LE5000 and not exceeding LE1000, for everyone who participated in the crime, called, promoted for early marriage.
On October 15, 2017, Egypt’s National Council for Women launched the “No to Underage Marriage” campaign in cooperation with the Ministry of Religious Endowments and Christian clerics. The campaign’s main objective is to curtail undocumented marriages of minors.