Published: 2018-02-11 14:27
Last Updated: 2018-02-11 16:50
The incidence of early marriage in Jordan witnessed an increase during 2015 and 2016 despite all the efforts by local organizations to raise awareness about early marriage and its consequences, according to a report released by the Sisterhood Is Global Institute (SIGI) on Sunday.
A staggering 10,907 applications for marriage of minors aged between 15-18 in Jordan have been submitted, of which 13.4 percent have been granted.
Although the number of marriages decreased in 2016 (by 30 cases), the number of early marriages have increased by 41 cases, according to the 2016 annual statistics report released by the Department of Statistics.
It is intuitive that most of the minors getting married are girls with 97 percent of the cases according to the society’s prevailing culture, SIGI’s report said. In the remaining 3 percent both the bride and groom are underage which makes the issue predominantly a women’s rights cause.
According to the report, the highest number of early marriages was registered in the capital city Amman with 3318 cases, followed by Irbid 2265, Zarqa 2083, Mafraq 1318, Balqa 536, Jerash 297, Karak 257 preceding Madaba that registered 231 cases, Ajloun 223 registered cases, Aqaba registered 177 cases and finally Tafilah with 51 registered cases.
As a step toward reform, the Jordanian Cabinet issued amendments to the 2011 legislation of Article 36 in the Personal Status Law in July 2017, which added stipulations to curb early marriage and protect girls.
It includes provisions of a maximal 15 year age difference between husband and wife, the husband can not already be married and cannot prevent the bride from pursuing her education. In addition, in order to get married, the minors are obliged to attend and obtain a certificate in a workshop on marriage organised by the Iftaa Department.
However, Jordanian civil society organizations described the amendments as a step backward as Former minister and activist Asma Khader told the Jordan Times. The new regulations “tighten up the exceptions but there are many loopholes in them including clear criteria," she said.