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Ombudsman initiates on early marriage restrictions

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, June 23
The Public Defender of Georgia initiated amendments to the Civil Code. According to the Ombudsman’s Office, permission for marriage for persons aged 16 to 18 years must be given only by the court.

The Public Defender’s report regarding this issue reads that at the moment, juvenile individuals can get married with the permission of their parents. However, in many cases juveniles, especially female ones, are forced to marry people deemed desirable only by their parents.

“In many cases exactly parents are initiators of marriages, and there is no mechanism which can defend juveniles from undesired actions. That is why we initiated the amendment, we have to help young people and defend their rights,” stated Head of the Department of Gender Equality of the Public Defender's Office Ekaterine Skhiladze.

Chairperson at the Partnership for Human Rights Ana Abashidze said that according to the United Nation’s (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child marriage before the age of 18 is unacceptable.

“Only in extreme cases may be given permission, but overall marriage before age 18 must be banned,” stated Abashidze.

Psychologist Nana Chachua shares Abashidze's position.

“Even though a person at the age of 18 is physically ready for marriage, they are not ready psychologically and socially. That is why marriage at such an early age is not recommended,” said Chachua.

Member of the Parliament Majority Guguli Maghradze said that parliament members already started studying the document.

“We have to discuss it and find out how prevalent a problem it is in our society, since such amendments require higher legal consciousness,” stated Maghradze.

Member of the Parliament Minority Levan Tarkhnishvili said that if there are not violations of law, government should not intervene in the family business.

According to the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia during 2011-2013, 7367 students dropped out of school. The Ombudsman’s report reads that the reason in many cases was marriage in early ages.

However, ministry conducts such kind of statistic research only since 2014. According to the Deputy Minister of Education Lia Gigauri said that due to new regulations, schools have obligations to note the exact reason why student decided to quit education.

“During 2014-2015 we had 66 cases when juvenile dropped school due to marriage in early ages,” stated Gigauri.

According to UN statistic, Georgia is on the fourth place with the underage marriage in Eastern Europe. Approximately 17% of females get married before the age of 18.