STATEMENT: HAKAM calls for the Elimination of Child Marriages once and for all

STATEMENT DATED 1 Jul 2018

HAKAM CALLS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF CHILD MARRIAGES IN MALAYSIA ONCE AND FOR ALL

HAKAM is calling the Minister for Women, Family & Community Development to push for new laws to ban and criminalise child marriages in Malaysia. It is not sufficient that laws allowing child marriages be repealed, there must be laws put in place to eliminate and  prohibit child marriage as such early marriages are a violation of human rights and the Convention on the Rights of a Child especially when Malaysia is a party to the convention.

Studies have shown that child marriages have devastating consequences especially for girls and the problem of child marriages is not new to Malaysia. As early as 2010, the Deputy Minister for Women had revealed that there were close to 15,000 Malaysian girls in child marriages. The new government ought to take the initiative to come up with an action plan to protect Malaysian children especially girls from child marriages.

The Pakatan Manifesto has provided for the introduction of a new law which sets 18 as the minimum age of marriage. This promise is one of the few reforms that can be implemented immediately upon the first parliamentary session since the people of Malaysia voted for a change of government.

HAKAM looks forward to the fulfilment of this promise by the Pakatan government through the tabling of a bill to eliminate child marriages once and for all at the first parliamentary session for this Malaysia Baru.

HAKAM also urge all Malaysians to contact their Members of Parliament to seek their commitment and support for the elimination of child marriages in Malaysia.

 

Issued on behalf of the HAKAM Executive Committee

Prof Dato Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar
President
HAKAM

 

How Malaysia’s legal system allows child marriage, five cases daily

Source: Malay Mail

Under state Islamic laws, the marriageable age is 18 for boys and 16 for girls, but Shariah courts have the authority to give consent to those below the permitted age to get married. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — In Malaysia, there are ways for children below 18 to get married, thanks to various “loopholes” in the dual legal system of Shariah and civil law.

The dual legal system, a result of the Reid Commission’s decision to make religion a state matter in 1956, separates legislation into civil law, which applies to non-Muslims, and Shariah law which applies to Muslims.

The statute governing non-Muslim marriages and divorces is the federal Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976, while Muslim marriages and divorces are governed by the respective state Islamic Family Laws.

Over 9,000 cases of child marriage occurred between 2010 and 2015, which averaged to about five cases a day.

A total of 6,268 of the child marriage cases involved Muslim couples, while the remaining 2,775 involved non-Muslims, according to data published in Penang Institute’s Child Marriages in Malaysia report. Read more

DPM moots Shariah Court SOP for child marriage

Source: Malay Mail

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women and Family Development, Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail – Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, July 2 — The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry will look into a standardised screening process for marriages involving minors, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today.

The deputy prime minister, who is also in charge of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, said the proposal is to protect the welfare of minors while upholding the sanctity of the Shariah Courts and the Native Courts in east Malaysia.

“There will always be exceptions to certain things… like customary marriages in Sabah and Sarawak, which we have to take into consideration.

“That is why we want to do [it] at the federal level.

“If you want to get married, at least we have a standard operating procedure that we must adhere to,” she said at her ministry’s Hari Raya open house here.

Dr Wan Azizah said the guideline will likely include making medical and psychological tests compulsory for children who want to get married. Read more

STATEMENT: HAKAM calls for the Elimination of Child Marriages once and for all

STATEMENT DATED 1 Jul 2018pdf

HAKAM CALLS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF CHILD MARRIAGES IN MALAYSIA ONCE AND FOR ALL

Pic from an Amnesty International event to denounce child marriage on October 27, 2016 in Rome. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

 

HAKAM is calling the Minister for Women, Family & Community Development to push for new laws to ban and criminalise child marriages in Malaysia.

It is not sufficient that laws allowing child marriages be repealed, there must be laws put in place to eliminate and  prohibit child marriage as such early marriages are a violation of human rights and the Convention on the Rights of a Child especially when Malaysia is a party to the convention.

Read more

End child marriage in Malaysia as promised, UN agencies tell Pakatan government

Source: Malay Mail

A young actress plays the role of Giorgia, 10, forced to marry Paolo, 47, during a happening organised by Amnesty International to denounce child marriage, on October 27, 2016 in Rome. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government must put a stop to child marriages in Malaysia by introducing laws that will make it illegal for anyone below the age of 18 from marrying, a combined 50 bodies, including several United Nations (UN) agencies, said today.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and 49 groups said it was time for PH to fulfil its promise in its election manifesto to “introduce a law that sets 18 as the minimum age of marriage”.

“Malaysia has the unique opportunity to send a clear message: The law must be amended to set the minimum age for marriage to 18 years for all legal frameworks, including civil, Muslim and native customary law marriages, without exceptions,” the groups said in a joint statement today.

The 50 groups listed four steps that it wanted the PH government to do to end child marriages, including issuing a “statement of commitment” to raise the minimum marriage age to 18 years old. Read more

Violence against women in Malaysia — Awam

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY THE ALL WOMEN’S ACTION SOCIETY

MARCH 8 — This International Women’s Day, we note with pleasure the international upsurge in public condemnation of influential individuals involved in cases of sexual harassment. This marks a great step forward in tackling an issue that has long plagued the public sphere, and we hope that more people are encouraged to step forward and speak their truth.

However, pinning the blame on individual perpetrators is not enough. These incidences of sexual harassment cannot be isolated from the social and cultural norms within which they are rooted. Sexual harassment is also just one of the ways that the patriarchy exacts violence against women. Read more

Child Marriage: Setting Our Children Up To Fail

Taken from Facebook

In conjunction with Art For Grabs “ReVisit Kuala Lumpur Year 2017” at Urbanscapes, The G-Blog proudly presents our first public forum this year!

More than 82,000 married women in our country are girls between the ages of 15 and 19. Many believe in the validity of child marriages on the basis of religion, culture and race. Are you one of them? Do you understand why some people think this way?

The G-Blog will be facilitating an open discussion with politicians, a child rights activist and a member of the judiciary to analyse the legal, religious and social landscape in Malaysia and consider the factors that may contribute to the high number of child marriages in our country, as well as how we might address these issues in the best interest of our children.

The panel of speakers include:

[1] YB Teo Nie Ching (张念群)!

Nie Ching is the incumbent Member of Parliament for Kulai, Johor. She obtained a law degree from the University of the West of England and was called to the Bar in 2006. Before joining politics, Nie Ching showcased her commitment in activism through legal processes, where she had represented pro-student front candidates in a disciplinary proceeding at Universiti Malaya, and a group of pig farmers in a court action against the Melaka State Government.

Earlier this year, Nie Ching submitted a proposal to amend the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017 to include a ban on child marriages. She urged bipartisan support for her proposal, and argued that when it comes to sexual crimes against children, the issue of consent was irrelevant.

[2] Dr. Hartini Zainudin

Dr. Hartini is one of the most prominent child rights activists in Malaysia, and has worked on children’s issues in the United States and Malaysia for 26 years.

She is the Vice President of Voice of the Children, a local NGO that does advocacy work, law and policy reforms and training on children’s issues. She is also the Founder of Yayasan Chow Kit, a 24-hour crisis centre which focuses on providing marginalized children with basic needs, counselling and protection services; in addition to this, she is the former CEO of Yayasan Siti Sapura Husin, a not-for-profit foundation that works with the poor and marginalized, concentrating on the needs of children, the elderly and the blind.

 

 

Female clerics declare fatwa on child marriage in Indonesia

Source: FMT News

'Female clerics know the issues and obstacles women face, we can take action and not just wait for the government to protect these children.' Pic from FMT News.

‘Female clerics know the issues and obstacles women face, we can take action and not just wait for the government to protect these children.’ Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Female clerics on Thursday issued an unprecedented fatwa against child marriage in Indonesia in a bid to stop young girls becoming brides in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

The fatwa – which is influential among Muslims but not legally binding – came at the end of an extraordinary three-day conference of female Islamic clerics: a rare example of women assuming a lead role in religious affairs in this mostly-Muslim country.

“Maternal mortality is very high in Indonesia. We as female clerics can play a role on the issue of child marriage,” conference organiser Ninik Rahayu told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Read more

Child marriages expose ‘loophole’ in Child Sexual Crime bill

Source: FMT News

Singapore daily says over 6,000 applications for child marriages from Muslims made between 2010 and 2015 in Malaysia. Pic from FMT News.

Singapore daily says over 6,000 applications for child marriages from Muslims made between 2010 and 2015 in Malaysia. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: A Singapore daily has criticised the Child Sexual Crime Bill 2017 in Malaysia, passed in Parliament just one month ago, pointing out that the legislation does not stop child marriages from taking place.

Calling it “a loophole” that has “gone unplugged”, The Independent referred to Malaysian government statistics showing that between 2010 and 2015, there were 6,264 applications for child marriages from Muslims.

A further 2,725 non-Muslim teenage girls also got married, it said.

The report mirrored concerns voiced by the opposition, especially DAP, in the run-up to the tabling of the bill in the Dewan Rakyat. Read more