Oslo, April 26 (IANS) The Norwegian government said on Thursday it has proposed to ban child marriages and introduce an absolute minimum marriage age of 18 years.
Currently, the marriage age in Norway is 18 years but persons between the age of 16 and 18 are eligible to apply to the county governor for permission to marry, Xinhua news reported.
The proposal will be considered by the Parliament by the end of May, the Ministry of Children and Equality said in a statement.
“We want to send a clear message, nationally as well as internationally, that we do not accept people under the age of 18 years getting married in Norway,” Minister of Children and Equality Linda Hofstad Helleland said.
“A child marriage may harm a child’s rights to health, education, equality and a life free from violence and exploitation. A marriage should always be based on full, free and informed consent,” she said.
In 2012, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that almost 400 million women between 20 and 49 years of age around the world had been married or had entered into a union before reaching 18 years of age.
Data recently published by the world body showed a drop in the global number of child marriages. However, there is still a long way to go before the practice of child marriage is ended.