HEADLINES

World: Indonesia Swims Against Tide on Child Marriage

By Heather Barr. (July 19, 2015) First Appeared in The Jakarta Global.

Indonesia's Child Brides: Girls who marry at a young age are unlikely to stay in school, and more likely to live in poverty.

In recent years, one of the bright spots on women’s rights globally has been growing awareness of how harmful child marriage is — and increasing efforts by countries around the world to end it. Sadly, not in Indonesia.

The Constitutional Court missed a chance last month to help the millions – yes, millions – of Indonesian girls who are marrying as children, under the age of 18.

Indonesia’s 1974 Marriage Law permits women and men to marry as they choose once they reach 21, but allows girls to marry at 16 with parental permission.

Boys must wait until they are 19 to marry with parental permission.

Because a large proportion of marriages in Indonesia are arranged by parents, the parental permission exception doesn’t protect girls, but instead establishes the age at which many are forced to marry. According to Unicef, 17 percent of girls in Indonesia are married before they reach 18. Three percent of girls marry before 15.

Six Indonesian women’s rights activists — Indri Oktaviani, Yohana Tantiana, Dini Anitasari, Sa’baniah, Hidayatut Thoyyibah, Ramadhaniati — along with the Children Human Rights Foundation (YPHA) asked the court to rule that no girl could marry before 18. They argued that the law violates rights guaranteed by the Indonesian constitution, discriminates against women and violates Indonesia’s international obligations.

  • In an 8-to-1 vote, the judges rejected the petition, upholding the 1974 Marriage Law’s provisions on age. They wrote that there “was no guarantee that with increasing the age from 16 to 18 there will be a reduction of divorce rates, health improvements and reduction of other social problems.”

There is overwhelming evidence that child marriage has devastating consequences for girls.

Such unions often result in early pregnancy, which carries serious health risks — including death — for both mothers and babies. Married girls are unlikely to stay in school, and more likely to live in poverty. They’re also more likely than women who marry at a later age to face domestic violence.

The court’s ruling should not be the end of this story.

Indonesia is a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Under these core human rights conventions, Indonesia is legally obligated to protect the rights of girls and women, including the right to be free from discrimination, to the highest attainable standard of health, to education, to free and full consent to marriage, to choose one’s spouse, and to be free from physical, mental, and sexual violence.

The current marriage law violates these rights.

Yohama Yembise, the minister of women’s empowerment and child protection in the government of President Joko Widodo, has spoken out against the court’s ruling. Her ministry should work with activists to draft legislation to reform the 1974 Marriage Law, setting 18 as the minimum age of marriage. The president should support this reform.

Indonesia’s House of Representatives should also get involved in this important issue and support administration reforms setting the age of marriage at 18. But if Joko’s government proves unwilling to act, the House should take the lead.

The Constitutional Court’s ruling should not be seen as a defeat for ending child marriage in Indonesia. Instead, it should galvanize the Joko government, the House and Indonesian activists to work together not only to change the law, but to change public thinking about how best to protect Indonesia’s girls.

🔝

Heather Barr is a senior researcher on women’s rights at Human Rights Watch.

The Jakarta Global: Indonesia Swims Against Tide on Child Marriage.

Click Picture for a Popular Article

  • The remnants of a US drone strike on August 29, 2012 in Khashamir, Yemen. The strike killed three alleged members of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a policeman, and a cleric who preached against the armed group.
  • Geopolitics: Today's Yemen In One Map. Yemeni Civil War: The Territorial Control as of March 1st, 2016. In March, the Yemen’s embattled president Hadi fled Yemen by sea and arrives in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, as Saudi Arabia and its allies launch military operations in Yemen to defend Hadi’s government.
  • A question I have been asked many times since I began covering the humanitarian crisis in Yemen; who is taking care of the war orphans in Yemen? It appears the world has forgotten them, perhaps because they are not considered refugee orphans, nobody is paying attention to the gross crimes against these little ones - committed at the hands of an invading regime - Saudi Arabia.. children isleep nside a pitt in the ground, it is now normal for adults to put children to sleep in a large hole to ptotect child from snipers andcluster bombs that spray shrapnel Yemen.
  • The month is also a time of community; it is the custom for Muslims to invite their neighbours and friends to share their evening meal – iftar – and recite special Tarawih prayers in congregation. It is also a time when Muslims try to reconnect with the Qur’an, which they believe is the word of God. However, Children, people who are sick or who have mental illness, elderly people for example do not have to fast.
  • Two homeless brothers try to survive on the streets of India.
  • UNICEF estimates nearly 400 children have been killed and over 600 injured in the past four months in the country, the poorest in the Middle East. 13 Yemeni teaching staff and four children were killed by a Saudi air strike on August 20. Two days before, coalition bombing in the Amran province took the lives of 17 civilians, injuring 20 more. UNICEF condemned what it called the “senseless bloodshed.” A Red Cross spokeswoman said the violence in Ta’iz, in southern Yemen, in just one day on August 21 left 80 people dead.
  • Yesterday I re-blogged two article's suggesting that Donald Trump announced his candidacy as a ruse to help Hillary Clinton secure the title of President of The United States. When a friend first emailed me a link to the article by J.K. Trotter published in the Gawker, I brushed it off as too far-fetched, However, I recently changed my mind, and I will explain why I doubt Donald Trump's campaign started as a legit quest for the presidency.
  • Doctors Without Borders nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs, pictured in 2013, was sleeping when the airstrike pounded the Kunduz hospital. (Photo: MSF)
  • Paramedics rush to the scene at the capital of Faso terrorist attack by Al-Qiada on January 15, 2016. The attack comes less than two months after a terrorist attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Malian capital Bamako on November 20 in which 20 people died including 14 foreigners.
  • Faces of the women who had their lives cut short by Pickton.
  • Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov listens to U.S. Secretary of State Kerry during a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York

Click Picture for a Popular Cartoon

  • The moment Bruce Jenner realized he was a woman
  • Take Our Poll: Come on in and decide for yourself! Who worked the puffy white shirt best?
  • Sesame Street - Grouch Apprentice with Donald Grump
  • Victoria's 'Homeless' Drug Addicts
  • GOP Caption winner first place on AlistairReignBlog.com
  • Putin Pumpkin Head
  • Who is PM Stephen Harper
  • Britney Spears Looking Hot in black leather in Toxic music video. who was sexiest? Britney in Toxic or Taylor Swift in Bad Blood
  • The Donalds invade Washington Caption This photo winner 1The Donalds invade Washington Caption This photo winner 1
  • Donald Trump kissing his daughter
  • Paul Ryan Retires
  • Caption this winner sept 1

Start a Conversation or Write a Caption This joke.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.