Ending Child Marriage in the United Kingdom – Human Rights Watch

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This week Pauline Latham, a Conservative MP, introduced a bill to ban marriage before the age of 18 in England and Wales. She has support from across the political spectrum for an effort that is long overdue. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, children aged 16 and 17 can marry with their parents’ permission. In Scotland, the minimum age of marriage is 16, with no parental permission required.

In allowing some children to marry the UK is out of step with the international standards it claims to support. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child supports a global minimum of 18 years for marriage, without exceptions, and recommended in 2016 that the UK raises the minimum marriage age to 18, including in its overseas territories.

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