Jordan recently cancelled a 2011 law regarding child marriage and replaced it with a new law containing a plethora of guidelines that human rights activist are hopeful will discourage the practice.
Where the old law only required a judge to approve that the conditions were “suitable” to marriage under the age of 18, the new law specifies those conditions. They include:
In response to the new law, the Jordanian human rights group Tadamoon (Solidarity) asked that the law include stipulations that the marriage should not be allowed if both the bride and groom are minors and that the age difference between the couple not exceed 10 years.
In addition, Tadamoon believes that every potential case of child marriage should be referred to the Office of Reform, Arbitration and Family Success, since they are staffed with experts in this area.
The group was hopeful , however, that having to fulfill all the conditions included in the new law would discourage the practice, which it believes negatively effects the lives of underage girls.
In recent years, between 12-14 percent of all marriages in Jordan are conducted with underage brides, even though there is an increased awareness in the society as to the negative effects of underage marriage. In real numbers, that translated to close to 11,000 marriages in 2016 that involved a minor.
Tadamoon spoke to the limits that underage marriage can place on a girl’s education, health, future life choices and the ability to reach her potential.
However, the group was were pleased with the new law, saying that the conditions stipulated could serve to raise awareness for girls as to their rights in a marriage, protect girls and improve their conditions in daily life.