Pakistan has the opportunity to protect girls by changing the legal age of marriage from 16 to 18. Join the Center for Reproductive Rights and our partner organization in Pakistan, Dastak, as we call on Pakistan’s Parliament to protect and fulfill the right to life and health for girls and women.
Fight Child Marriage in Pakistan
To the Parliament of Pakistan:
As human rights defenders, we are raising our voice to call on the Government of Pakistan to reform its child marriage law and halt the ongoing violation of the human right to life and health for women and girls. We call on the government to amend its laws to remove the gaps and inconsistencies that undermine prevention of and accountability for child marriage. We call on the government to make the following substantive amendments to the country's child marriage laws to ensure that they protect the constitutional and human rights of women and girls:1. Increase the legal age of marriage for girls from 16 to 18 in the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 (CMRA), in line with international human rights obligations including the Kathmandu Call to Action that seek to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18.2. Declare marriage below the minimum legal age as void and having no legal effect under any pretext, such as custom, religion, or traditional practices. However, before making this amendment effective, ensure widespread awareness that child marriages are void and that girls who are forced into marriage have adequate guarantees of protection mechanisms. 3. Provide legislative guarantees ensuring that victims of child marriage have rights of maintenance and that any children born within child marriages have rights, including the right to inheritance, as well as access to shelter and to financial, legal, and psychological assistance.4. Introduce penalties for officials, including police and magistrates, who fail to take action on complaints of incidents of child marriage or to take measures to prevent child marriages.5. Make birth registration mandatory and make it compulsory for marriage officiants to check birth registration or other reliable age documentation before solemnizing a marriage. The Pakistani government has an obligation to protect and fulfill the right to life and health for girls and women. We urge the parliament to reform its child marriage law.
Sincerely, [Your Name]
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