Iran seeing rise in child marriages

By Sharifa Ghanem

DUBAI: A new report from Iran has revealed a striking rise in the number of child brides under the age of 10-years-old.
The Union for the Protection of Children’s Rights said that in 2010, at least 713 marriages of girls under 10-years-old were registered in the country, more than twice as many as registered in the three years before.
Farshid Yezdani of the Union was cited by TREND news agency as reporting at least 75 child marriages were registered in the capital, Tehran, last year.
The report also released numbers for 2010, which showed some 342,000 marriage contracts among adolescents under 18-years-old were registered, of which 42,000 involved girls between the age of 10 to 14.
Women’s rights activists across the world have called on the Iranian government to end the marriages of girls under 18-years-old, arguing that the girls are not able to decide their future at that time and that marriage should be a partnership agreed upon by both the husband and the wife.
“It is a worrying trend to see and something that we are all working hard to end,” said Iranian women’s rights activist Fardous Azadi, who told that she has been working closely with a number of European organizations in an effort to educate people in Iran.
“The best way to end this kind of practice is to give information on how to better one’s life without infringing on a child’s ability to have a childhood,” she said. “And we are being successful, we believe, in changing a lot of the perceptions toward this practice.”
The Iranian parliament website in referring to the Head of the Civil Registry in Tehran said that in 2011, the province registered 3,929 marriages among children between 10- to 14-years-old and another 1,927 marriages for children aged 15 to 19, Bernama news agency reported.
The number of marriages for girls in the 10-15 age range could be more, according to Yezdani.
About 55 percent of child marriages are registered in cities and 45 percent in villages.

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