2017 Activism

Draft law to end early/child marriage

Though there is no unified minimum marriage age for women, the minimum age at marriage according to different courts ranges between 14 and 17 years, given that religious courts oversee the application of personal status laws. However,  if the girl who is to be married is younger than the minimum age for marriage at the sect, religious courts can make exceptions, based on a guardian’s permission, and when the girls shows signs of physical and mental maturity. In Islamic sects, marriage consummation can take place once a woman minor reaches the age of 9 years. For this reason, local civil society organisations, such as Abaad Resource Centre for Gender Equality and the Lebanese Women’s Democratic Gathering (RDFL), partnered with the international Girls not Brides organisation to fight against those early marriages, with a particular focus on Syrian girls arriving as refugees to Lebanon, as they are more vulnerable to such practices. Other organisations also advocate for legal reforms. The RDFL drafted a law to abolish early marriage and to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18 years; this draft law was submitted to the Parliament on 28 March 2017. Additionally, Kafa, another local advocate of this mobilisation, put forward action plans to end gender-based violence in general, and early marriage in particular to protect children. Since 2015, the NGO launched a campaign using videos to denounce this practice, and push the parliament to pass the law to set the minimum age for marriage at 18.