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Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans

* Références

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.

Photo credit: Landesa

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans

* Références

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

13% of girls in Kyrgyzstan are married before their 18th birthday.

Child marriage is most prevalent in Osh Oblast, Chui and Djalal-Abad.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys. In Kyrgyzstan, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Level of education: 33% of women with no education or primary level education were married before the age of 18, compared to only 4% who had completed higher education.
  • Poverty: 16% of women from Kyrgyzstan’s poorest households were married as children, compared to 9% from the richest households.
  • Harmful traditional practices: According to informants, bride kidnapping, while outlawed in 2013, is still prevalent and widely tolerated in Kyrgyzstan. Local NGOs estimate that almost 12,000 women and girls are abducted for marriage annually. This leaves girls in a particularly isolated and vulnerable position, often unable to access support. Many times, the families of the victims are reluctant to allow them to return home due to the perceived shame for the family.
  • Family honour: Some families marry off their daughters in order shield them from pre-marital sex and “set them up for life”.
  • Ethnicity: Child marriage is reportedly widely practiced among Uzbeks, Dungans, Turks, Tajiks and Central Asian Lyuli people, primarily driven by traditional customs and attitudes.
  • Religion: Mullahs reportedly still conduct nikah (“marriage” in Islamic law) religious ceremonies for girls under the age of 18. These marriages are rarely registered officially and are difficult to track.

Armed conflict: Child marriage as a result of rape reportedly increased following ethnic clashes in Osh and Jalalabad in the south of the country in 2010.

What has this country committed to?

Kyrgyzstan has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Kyrgyzstan co-sponsored the 2013 and 2014 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage, and the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage.

Kyrgyzstan acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1997, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In 2018, the CEDAW Committee led an inquiry into Kyrgyzstan’s failure to prevent, protect and assist victims, as well as to prosecute and adequately punish perpetrators, of bride kidnapping as a form of child and forced marriage. Among other recommendations, the Committee urgently called Kyrgyzstan to:

  • Exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and provide reparations for all crimes of bride kidnapping.
  • Provide mandatory and effective capacity-building for law enforcement personnel.
  • Remove the barriers to access justice faced by women and girls who are victims of bride kidnapping.
  • Effectively implement preventive measures to change the underlying causes of bride kidnapping.

During its 2015 Universal Periodic Review, concerns were raised about the persistence of child marriage and bride kidnapping. Kyrgyzstan supported recommendations to introduce more effective policies to combat child marriage and to strengthen public campaigns and awareness-raising on the unacceptability of the practice.

Kyrgyzstan is a partner country of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

In December 2017, a Plan for the implementation of the Preventing Early Marriage Act was approved by eight Government agencies. Since then, the government has reportedly implemented various awareness raising activities on the negative consequences and unlawful nature of bride kidnapping and early marriage.

With the support of UNDP and the Defenders of the Rights of the Child, a non-governmental foundation, the government has also trained representatives of law enforcement bodies, education, social protection and health authorities, among others, on the prevention of child marriages. 

Despite these recent efforts, in 2018 the CEDAW Committee found that Kyrgyzstan had committed grave violations for systematically failing to enforce existing laws and protect a significant number of women and girls from bride kidnapping, child and forced marriage.

There is also a growing civil society movement organising to raise aware and prevent of the practice of bride kidnapping.

Previously, the National Human Rights Programme, which ran from 2002-2010 and was approved by Presidential decree, aimed to upgrade mechanisms for monitoring enforcement of laws related to coercion into child marriage.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Family Code 2005 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However individuals can marry at 17 years with the permission of the executive local public authority.

The abduction of a girl or woman for forced marriage is defined as a crime in the Criminal Code of Kyrgyzstan.


Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Kyrgyzstan, [website], https://www.globalpartnership.org/where-we-work/kyrgyz-republic (accessed March 2020).

Human Rights Watch, Kyrgyzstan Ups Fight Against Child Marriage, [website], 2016, https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/11/21/kyrgyzstan-ups-fight-against-child-marriage (accessed March 2020).

National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic and UNICEF, Kyrgyzstan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2018, Survey Findings Report, May 2019 https://mics-surveys-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/MICS6/Europe%20and%20Central%20Asia/Kyrgyzstan/2018/Survey%20findings/Kyrgyzstan%20MICS%202018_English.pdf (accessed September 2020).

UN CEDAW, Fifth periodic report submitted by Kyrgyzstan under article 18 of the Convention, due in 2019, 2019, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW%2fC%2fKGZ%2f5&Lang=en (accessed March 2020).

UN CEDAW, Inquiry concerning Kyrgyzstan under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 2018, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW%2fC%2fOP.8%2fKGZ%2f1&Lang=en (accessed March 2020).

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Kyrgyzstan,2015, p.7, p.18, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/KGindex.aspx (accessed March 2020).

UN Women, New law in Kyrgyzstan toughens penalties for bride kidnapping, [website], 2013, http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/2/new-law-in-kyrgyzstan-toughens-penalties-for-bride-kidnapping (accessed March 2020).

UNFPA, Child marriage in Kyrgyzstan (Overview), 2014, https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/UNFPA-Child-Marriage-in-Kyrgyzstan-2014.pdf (accessed March 2020).

United Nation Kyrgyz Republic, A law on prohibition of child marriages is entering in its active phase of implementation, [website], 2018, https://kyrgyzstan.un.org/en/12868-law-prohibition-child-marriages-entering-its-active-phase-implementation (accessed March 2020).

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5 (accessed March 2020).

VOA News, Kyrgyzstan Women Fight to End Bride Kidnapping, [website], 2019, https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/kyrgyzstan-women-fight-end-bride-kidnapping (accessed March 2020).

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.