Health Desk—7th April, 2017: The European Parliament on Thursday called on Bangladesh government to close loopholes in a new legislation that provided legal authorisation for child marriage.
In a resolution passed on Thursday, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) noted with concern the loopholes in the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2017, that allowed child marriage in Bangladesh, the country with the highest rate of child marriage in Asia.
The act sets the minimum age for women to marry at 18 and for men at 21, but allows exceptions made in “the best interests” of adolescents in “special cases” without laying down the criteria or making the adolescents' consent mandatory, the MEPs observed according to a report published on European Parliament website.
The parliament reaffirms its condemnation of all cases of forced and child marriage and calls on the government of Bangladesh to amend the Act and close the loopholes and outlaw all marriages involving children, the report added.
It is worried by the “step backwards for Bangladesh in its efforts to eliminate child marriage” and urges the government of Bangladesh to commit to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, including ensuring gender equality and women's rights, read the report.