Around 18% of minor girls (those under the age of 18-years old) who live in Jordan are married, according to Salma Nims, the Head of the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW).
While 11% of them are Jordanians, 43% of married minor girls in Jordan are Syrians, Nims said during a press conference held in corporation with the campaign “16 days of activism against gender-based violence,” at the Hashemite Fund for Development.
She said that Jordanian society still denies women’s existence, adding that the law does not recognize sexual harassment.
Nims’ comment was made in reaction to the controversial incident in which Jordanian politician, Mahmoud Kharabsheh, attacked a woman recounting her story of sexual abuse.
In 2017, figures on early marriage saw an increase, according to an official study released in July.
The study attributed the rise to the increase in number of Syrian refugees in Jordan.
It noted that the increase in the number of early marriages among Syrian girls was due to political instability in the region and the intent to protect girls from sexual violence and the risk of pregnancy in times of conflict and instability.
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The Jordanian Cabinet issued new regulations in July 2017 to regulate the legal age for early marriage for girls in the kingdom.
The new regulations included provisions to allow a maximum 15-year-old age difference or less between the husband and the wife, with conditions that the husband is not married and that marriage would not prevent the girl from pursuing her education.
The regulations specified that the newlyweds should both attend a workshop on marriage organized by the Iftaa Department, and they should present a certificate about it.
The new regulations replaced a legislation issued in 2011 that identified the age of marriage for boys and girls and faced criticism by activists and women groups in Jordan, with many describing it as a step backwards.
Several changes were made to the Personal Status Law earlier in 2002, including raising the legal age of marriage for men and women to 18 from 15, for women, and 16 for men, but the changes still allow for exceptions.