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Pakistan

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
3%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
21%

* 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: Bedari

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
3%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
21%

* 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?

21% of girls in Pakistan are married before their 18th birthday and 3% are married before the age of 15.

According to UNICEF, Pakistan has the sixth highest number of absolute child brides in the world – 1,909,000.

The median age of marriage is lowest in rural areas and in Gilgit Baltistan.

A 2017 study estimates that ending child marriage in Pakistan could lead to a $6229 million rise in earnings and productivity.

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

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

  • Traditional customs: Swara, where girls are married off to resolve disputes or debt, continues in rural communities and is often sanctioned by a council of elders. Watta Satta (bartering for brides) and pait likkhi (marrying girls off before they are born or very young) also still occur.
  • Gender norms: Deeply entrenched patriarchal norms continue to drive child marriage, and girls who marry late are often shamed for “deviating” from tradition.
  • Family practices: Marriages among families or tribes (addo baddo) are still common in Pakistan. 34% of married 16-17 year old girls are married to a first cousin on their father’s side.
  • Religion: Some Pakistani Muslims believe their religion requires them to marry off their daughters once they reach puberty. This also relates to a desire to protect a girl’s izzat (honour), and the high premium attached to the chastity of young unmarried girls.
  • Level of education: Dropping out of school early is both a cause and consequence of child marriage. A 2017 study shows that each year of additional secondary education reduces the risk of child marriage by 3.4% in Pakistan.

What has this country committed to?

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

Pakistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1996, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage. However, it noted that this is subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Pakistan is a member of the South Asian Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC), which adopted a regional action plan to end child marriage from 2015-2018.

Representatives of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), including Pakistan, asserted the Kathmandu Call to Action to End Child Marriage in Asia in 2014. As part of its commitment, Pakistan will ensure access to legal remedies for child brides and establish a uniform minimum legal age of marriage of 18.

During its 2018 Universal Periodic Review, Pakistan agreed to examine recommendations to make the minimum age of marriage for women and men 18.

During its 2013 review, the CEDAW Committee raised concerns about the persistence of child marriages and the minimum age of marriage for girls in Pakistan. It also expressed concern about the high number of Pakistani girls belonging to religious minorities who are forced to convert and marry.

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

Several alliances have been active in advocating for legal reform at the provincial and federal level. In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, there is a working group on child marriage.

Pakistan’s 2017-2025 National Education Policy focuses on eliminating gender disparity in education and encouraging families to send girls to school.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 the minimum legal age of marriage is 16 years for girls and 18 years for boys.

At the provincial level, in 2014 the Sindh Assembly unanimously adopted the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, increasing the minimum age of marriage to 18 years and making child marriage a punishable offence. A proposed similar nationwide bill was unfortunately struck down by Pakistan’s National Assembly in 2014. In Punjab, a Bill introducing harsher penalties for marriage under the age of 16 was also adopted. However, it does not increase the age of marriage to 18.

In May 2017 a proposed Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill seeking to revise the legal age of marriage to 18 years for girls was moved into the Senate by Senator Shear Kamran and was passed by the standing committee. However, it was then referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology (« CII ») for review, who were to compile a report within three weeks. Two months later no report had been published but the Council of Islamic Ideology indicated that marriage can be performed at any age, but rukhsati (moving to the husband’s house) would only be allowed after the age of 18.

In a recent series of rulings, the Council of Islamic Ideology, a constitutional body which gives Islamic legal advice to the Pakistani Government, declared that Pakistani laws prohibiting child marriage are un-Islamic. The rulings were widely criticised.

Source

Center for Reproductive Rights: Supplementary Information on Pakistan, scheduled for review by the Committee on the Rights of the Child during its 72nd session, 2016, (accessed March 2018)

International Center for Research on Women and UNFPA, Child marriage in Southern Asia, Policy Options for Action, 2013, (accessed March 2018)

Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training Government of Pakistan, National Education Policy 2017-2025, (accessed March 2018)

Nasrullah, Muazzam, Zulfiqar, Bhutta and Raj, Girl Child Marriage and its Effect on Fertility in Pakistan: Findings from Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey Data, 2006-07, 2013, (accessed March 2018)

National Institute of Population Studies Islamabad, Pakistan, Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012, 2013, (accessed March 2018)

Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Commission for the Protection and Welfare of Children at Risk, Brief, 2016, (accessed March 2018)

Plan International, Stealing Innocence: Child marriage and gender inequality in Pakistan, 2011 (accessed March 2018)

Plan Pakistan, A Research Study on Child Marriage in Punjab, Pakistan, 2013, [unpublished]

Shirkat Gah, Obstructing Progress: Growing Talibanisation & Poor Governance in Pakistan, Shadow Report, 2013, (accessed March 2018)

South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children, [website], 2018, (accessed February 2018)

Thomas Reuters Foundation, TrustLaw Poll – Afghanistan is most dangerous country for women, [website], 2011, (accessed March 2018)

UNFPA, Child marriage in Pakistan, a Taboo, 2007, [unpublished]

UNFPA, Child marriage profile: Pakistan, 2012, (accessed March 2018)

UNICEF and Planning & Development Department Government of Gilgit-Baltistan, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2016-17 Gilgit-Baltistan, 2017, (accessed March 2018)

UN CEDAW, Concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of Pakistan, adopted by the Committee at its fifty-fourth session, 2013, p.10, p.16, (accessed March 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Pakistan, 2017, p.24, (accessed March 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, (accessed February 2018)

World Bank and International Center for Research on Women, Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: Global Synthesis Report, 2017,  (accessed February 2018)

World Bank and International Center for Research on Women, Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: Work, Earnings and Household Welfare Brief, 2017,(accessed March 2018)

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.

Membres Pakistan