RECOGNISE CHILD MARRIAGE AS A HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION SABAH GOVT URGED
9 DIS 2020
By JANNIE LASIMBANG
COMMENT: Human Rights Day is commemorated on 10 December every year, the date on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Hence it is appropriate to mark Human Rights Day this year as a commitment by the government to end child marriage.
Child marriage is a violation of human rights and is prohibited by a number of international conventions and other instruments. If we don’t stop child marriages, it is estimated that in the next ten years more than 100 million girls are likely to be married before the age of 18.
Child marriage is not acceptable and it should be avoided as it can affect the child’s rights to education, reproductive health and mental health. We need to stand up for our rights and promote relativenss of all human beings.
I strongly urge the GRS governments to make a strong statement against child marriage, and implement the 10-Year Plan to End Child Marriage in Sabah which the Ministry of Law and Native Affairs has adopted with the support of UNICEF Malaysia.
According to the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, a total of 1,856 underage marriages recorded across Malaysia this year. Sabah has the third highest Muslim child marriages with 63 child marriages in the first nine months of this year.
There were 543 child marriages including applications recorded nationwide so far this year involving Muslims were from Sabah, making it the third highest after Sarawak 83 and Kelantan 80. As for non-Muslim couples, the ministry said the National Registration Department’s records showed 23 underage marriages recorded from January to September 2020.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that men and women of full age are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending parties.
This poster is based on a study on Child Marriages by PACOS Trust in 5 districts.
The Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages (1964) says that no marriage shall be legally entered into without the full and free consent of both parties. States should specify a minimum age for marriage (not less than 15 years) and all marriages should be registered by the competent authority.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination of Women (1979), which Malaysia has ratified, states that the betrothal and the marriage of a child shall have no legal effect, and all necessary action, including legislation, should be taken to specify a minimum age for marriage and to make the registration of marriages in an official registry compulsory.
In their general recommendations of 1994, the Committee considers that the minimum age for marriage should be 18 years for both men and women. - The Sabah Today