August 16, 2018

Rights Groups Urge Thai Government to End Child Marriages For Good

In the wake of social media outrage over a 41-year-old Malaysian man marrying an 11-year-old Thai girl, human rights groups have joined forces to call on the Thai government to pass new laws to eliminate child marriages.

The groups state that “premature” marriages are child abuse in all cases.

In June, many Thais were shocked when they found out the Malaysian man was able to marry the young Thai girl in a religious court. And an unofficial examination from Malaysia of the girl showed signs of sexual intercourse.

According to existing Thai marriage law, the legal age of marriage is 18. But legal loopholes sometimes allow for younger children to be married, whether it be for economic, cultural, or religious reasons.

For example, parents can approve a child’s marriage at 17 (or even lower with a court’s approval).

But the biggest child marriage loophole is afforded to Thailands Muslim-majority southern provinces. In these places, girls can get married under Islamic law after menstruation, which can occur as early as 12-years-old.

Thailand has the second highest child marriage rate in Southeast Asia, behind only Laos.

Read the full story here.

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