12-Year-Old Girl Marries 14-Year-Old Boy in Bangladesh
Courts in Bangladesh are now investigating a wedding that occurred between two minors this weekend in a village near the town of Meherpur.
The girl’s parents falsely claimed that their daughter was 16, and later explained that the marriage was a religious ceremony and not legally “binding”.
“My daughter Mussammat Ayesha Akhter is 16 years of age. We are not educated and we are not aware of the law. She will go to her in-laws’ house after two years,” the girl’s dad defends.
Further reports also show that two elected members of the council were present at the wedding.
“It was shocking that the marriage was held in the presence [of the] councillors. As public servants they should have stopped this because this is against the law,” said Abantee Nurul, an attorney for a local rights group.
“When we heard about the wedding, we immediately informed a local government official. He told the police to look into the matter. Police came to the marriage to stop it but one of the councillors did not allow them to intervene,” Tuhin Aranyo, a journalist also added.
Despite laws that prohibit girls to marry under the age of 18 (and men under the age of 21), Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage rates in the world. An estimated 20% of girls are married before they turn 15, mostly due to economic reasons.