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Rural girls getting married illegally: Report

 

Apr 06, 2021 03:08:27 PM

Rural girls getting married illegally: Report A study reveals some girls under the age of 18-years-old in Fiji were forced to get marry men who impregnated them.

The 2020 US Country Reports on Human Rights Practices said girls especially in rural areas often get married before 18, preventing them from completing their secondary school education.

The legal minimum age for marriage in the country is 18-years-old.

The report said pregnant girls younger than 18 could live as common-law wives with the child’s father after the man presented a traditional apology.

“In ethnic Fijian villages, pregnant girls younger than 18 could live as common-law wives with the child’s father after the man presented a traditional apology to the girl’s family.

“Girls, especially in rural areas, often get married before 18, preventing them from completing their secondary school education.

“After presenting an apology, the girl's families avoid filing a complaint with police,” the report said.

The report said no children had any reason to drop out of school as the government provided free education for all children.

“Education is compulsory until age 15, but the law does not provide for free education.

“The government nonetheless as a matter of policy provides for free education, although students must pay non-tuition costs, such as for uniforms,” the statement said.

The report said the girls frequently married the fathers as soon as legally permissible.

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka

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