“[E]veryone knows mullahs marry [people] at an early age,” the head of a community elders court told me when I was in southern Kyrgyzstan researching domestic violence in 2014. Although child and forced marriage are illegal in Kyrgyzstan, an estimated 12 percent of girls marry before age 18. One percent are married before age 15. These girls are typically wed in religious ceremonies and their marriages remain unregistered.
On Friday, Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev took an important step in the fight against child marriage by signing a new law introducing criminal sanctions, including imprisonment, for people who conduct or facilitate religious marriages of children under 18. Read more here: