Bangladesh which apparently has the highest rates of child marriages in the world, has taken a major step back on its stand on the issue. In what is being termed as an extremely risky move, Bangladesh has reportedly proposed a bill in the parliament that does not set any age limit for anyone to get married.
According to the Child Marriage Restraint Bill, a girl needs to be at least 18 and a boy has to attain the age of 21 to enter a wedlock. However, exceptions have been introduced which allows child marriage in “special cases” and in the “best interests” of the adolescent.
Social activists opposing the bill have asserted that the law would only increase the risks of child marriages. Additionally, some have also claimed that this would also result into the victim being forced to get married to its rapist. Also, the bill do not mention ay instances of what these “special cases” would be.
However, the bill still needs an approval from the president to become a law. “We are concerned that this new act could lead to widespread abuse, legitimise statutory rape, allow parents to force their girls to marry their rapists, and further encourage the practice of child marriage in a country with one of the highest child marriage rates in the world,” Independent quoted one of the activists as saying. The activists affirmed that one of the reason why the parliamentarians have proposed such a provision to “protect the honor of pregnant girls”.
As per the record, 52% percent of girls in Bangladesh are married at the age of 18 and 18% percent at the age 15.