Baku, Azerbaijan, July 23
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
In its new report published on July 22, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has warned about prevalence of the child marriage around the world.
Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today got married as children, the report said, underlining that more than 1 in 3 - or some 250 million - of them were married before the age of 15.
Almost half of all child brides worldwide live in South Asia; 1 in 3 are in India, the report remarked. Middle East and North Africa share 5 percent of women who were married before age 18.
The latest statistics released by Iran's National Organization for Civil Registration indicates that over one third of women who married in the nine-month period from March to Dec. 2013 were under 19.
Number of girls under the age of 19 who were married in the mentioned period stood at 208,859, with 30,956 of these girls were married under age 15.
The organization put the total number of marriages in Iran at 579,871 during the period.
The official statistics also show that 829,968 marriages were registered in Iran during the 12-month period from March 2012 to March 2013; of that amount 305,770 were child brides (36.8 percent).
However some experts believe that the official figures do not tell the whole story, while in some regions underage marriages are not registered.
Early in Dec. 2013, Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted Iranian demography expert, Shahla Kazemipour as saying in some regions underage marriages are not registered due to brides' under legal age and it is only after a pregnancy that steps are taken to register the marriage.
It should be noted that Iran's domestic laws permit marriage under 18 however the Islamic Republic is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which forbids that.
According to the article 1041 of the country's Civil Code, "marriage of girls before the age of 13 and boys before the age of 15 is contingent upon the permission of the guardian and upon the condition of the child's best interests as determined by a competent court." Some Iranian human rights activists recently wrote a letter to the UN high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay calling on her to investigate the issue of marriages of young and underage girls in Iran.
UNICEF in its recent report warns about the future of the girls who marry underage.
"They are not only denied their childhood, they are often socially isolated - cut off from family and friends and other sources of support - with limited opportunities for education and employment," the report said.