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Report: Germany ‘not effectively’ tackling child marriages

A German women’s rights group, Terre des Femmes, prea says a 2017 law aimed at combating child marriages has had very little effect across the country.

According to the group, only fifty-three child marriages have actually been annulled by courts in Germany.

Terre des Femmes also found that there had been 813 cases of child marriages registered throughout Europe’s largest country in the past two years, and only ninety-seven were reported to the courts.

The German law on child marriages, which was passed in July 2017, was created to protect teenagers, particularly young female migrants, from being forced into marriage under the age of eighteen.

Since the law was passed, the minimum age for marriage is eighteen in Germany.

Any marriage with a person under eighteen, can be annulled by a court, while any marriage with a person under sixteen is already null and void and does not require a court of law to set it aside.

Spokeswoman for Terre des Femmes Myria Boehmecke, said the missing statistics showed how German authorities were struggling to deal with the situation.

“In many cases, these marriages are not life choices the girls made freely,” she explained.

Ms. Boehmecke said many girls suffered under domestic abuse, and had to face complications from teenage pregnancies.

They also had no perspectives for their futures as they often dropped out of school, she added.

Terre des Femmes survey urged the German government to start providing training for their officials on how to react when confronted with teenage marriages.

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