UNICEF, United Nations Children's Fund
This report presents findings from quantitative and qualitative studies of child marriage amongst Jordanians, Palestinians as well as Syrians living in Jordan between 2005 and the first quarter of 2014. The study provides insight into attitudes to child marriage and establishes a baseline against which efforts to eliminate the practice can be measured in the future.
The initial results from the study show no significant decline in child marriages registered in the shari’a courts in Jordan from 2005 to 2013, despite updated legislation to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18. The study also found wide public acceptance that child marriage remained an appropriate response to certain circumstances and that the ultimate decision to go through with the marriage lay with the child’s father/male guardian. Links are also made with impact to education as well as the exacerbating effects of the Syrian crisis on existing pressures for early marriage.
With a strong foothold in Jordan, the study finds no sign of early marriage abating in the near future. The ability to circumvent the legal age law for marriage, the Syrian crisis, and social norms provide challenges to ending child marriage in Jordan. The study recommends more stringent application of the minimum age law as well as the introduction of a specialized panel in assessing the best interests of the child in each instance where are request is made to marry below the minimum age.