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‘Girls belong in school, and not in front of the altar’ : Is the German Bill on child marriages violating international law?

Witting, Sabine

As much as international law categorizes child marriage as harmful practice due to its potential wide ranging negative effects on education, health, increased risk of violence and sexually transmitted diseases, and poverty, the regulation of already existing marriages should not aim to be aligned with the age of marriage. Already existing child marriages have to be treated differently, as they already created a lived reality for the partners and cannot just be reversed, as this might end up in unwanted legal and practical consequences for the child. Therefore, with regards to already existing marriages, it is a misconception that the only possible way to end child marriage is to actually ‘end’ child marriage.

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Witting, Sabine: ‘Girls belong in school, and not in front of the altar’. Is the German Bill on child marriages violating international law?. 2017.

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