Raise Minimum Age of Marriage to Improve Outcomes for Women, Activists Say


JANUARY 07, 2016

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo must immediately issue a government regulation in lieu of law, known as a Perppu, on child marriage to fill in a “legal void," an activist said on Wednesday.

The 1974 Law on Marriage is "insufficient," Supriyadi Eddyono of the Coalition to End Child Marriage said, as it allows sexual abusers to "legalize" offenses against children.

The law sets the minimum age of marriage for women at 16, two years below the international standard of 18-years-old.

“This can not be addressed through the usual, lengthy procedures of law enactment, as child marriage is now an urgent matter,” Supriyadi said. “The president should issue a Perppu.”

Domestic violence cases, including child marriage, numbered around 263,285 in 2013, according to a report by the National Commission on Violence Against Women.

Last year the Constitutional Court rejected a petition by women's rights activists to raise the legal marriage age for women to 18, sparking calls to the president to intervene.

One in five Indonesian women are married before turning 18, according to a 2012 census by Unicef, the United Nation's children's agency.