Influx of Child Bride Refugees Pushing Sweden to Alter Marriage Laws

by admin on November 6, 2018

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A huge surge of refugees in Sweden in recent years are bringing their underage wives with them, which has prompted Sweden to change its marriage law at the beginning of 2019.

As of now, marriage law in Sweden–despite banning marriages under 18-years-old–recognizes foreign marriages as long as the marriage was legal in the country it took place.

The new law that is expected to come into effect in January will require couples with an underage participant to remarry once he or she turns 18.

Since the European refugee crisis began in 2012, Sweden has accepted over 400,000 asylum seekers from Middle Eastern countries–mostly Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

In many of these countries, the government allows children to marry under Sharia law and with the permission of an Islamic court. However, underage marriages are not limited to the Middle East nor Muslim pre-dominant countries.

In southern Thailand, for example, the provinces bordering Malaysia are a hotbed for child marriages.

“Many older Malaysian men cross over the border and marry underage Thai girls”, said Thailand family lawyer Jitsopin Narasettapong. “Thanks to a legal loophole which allows Sharia courts to recognize a marriage, these unions could occur as early as 12-years-old.”

According to child advocacy groups, over 12 million underage girls marry each year worldwide.

Read the full story here.

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