30, May 2018
On Tuesday, May 22, the Norwegian parliament voted unanimously for a law banning all child marriage, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported. Norway has a minimum age of 18, but permits those aged 16 and 17 to wed provided they have parental consent and permission from the county governor. A government spokeswoman said that very few people under 18 had attempted to marry in recent years. Linda Hofstad Helleland, Norway’s Minister of Children and Equality said via email, “We believe … this law will send a clear message, nationally as well as internationally, that we do not accept children getting married in Norway,” adding, “A marriage should always be based on full, free and informed consent”. The law bars Norwegians from getting married overseas if either party is not 18. The highest punishment for child marriage will be three years in jail. According to international organisation Girls Not Brides, worldwide, an estimated 12 million girls under 18 are married annually; this works out to nearly one girl per two seconds. Child marriage can compel girls to halt their education, restricts their opportunities, and can leave them mired in poverty, according to experts. Girls married as children are also more at risk of experience domestic abuse, rape, and complications during childbirth. Eradicating child marriage is part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.