Indonesia raises marrying age of brides to 19

Indonesia’s parliament voted to revise the country’s marriage law to raise the age at which females can marry from 16 to 19.

Indonesia’s parliament unanimously passed a revision to its marriage law after the Constitutional Court last year said it was in violation of the country’s Constitution. Photo by Mohammad Ali

The revision to Indonesia’s 1974 Marriage Law was unanimously passed during the plenary meeting Monday, the country’s House of Representatives said in a statement.

The law had stated that men could marry at the age of 19 while girls could wed at 16 years old.

Indonesian Minister for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana Susana Yembise said the move was long awaited by the people of Indonesia to curb the number of child marriages in the country.

“We are very happy, proud and grateful to the House of Representatives, as a legislative body, which together with the government has made history for the Indonesian people, especially for 80 million Indonesian children, namely by making progressive breakthroughs by making this ratification,” she said.

According to 2017 data from UNICEF, 14 percent of Indonesia girls are wed by the age of 18 while 1 percent are married before they reach 15 years old. Girls Not Brides, an organization that aims to end child marriages, said Indonesia accounts for the eight most number of child brides worldwide.

The revision passed Monday was a continuation of a ruling last year by the Constitutional Court, which found the difference between the marrying age of men and women was in violation of the 1945 Constitution due to gender-based discrimination.

ByDarryl Coote