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Child marriage on the rise among Syrian refugee girls in Jordan

In 2014, 15 percent of all Syrian marriages in Jordan included a child bride, but now the number has risen to 36 percent.

Syrian refugee girls

Child marriage among Syrian refugee children, primarily girls, is on the rise, according to data from Jordan's court system. 

The percentage of child brides in Syrian marriages in Jordan rose from 15 percent in 2014 to 36 percent this year.

Poverty is the primary reason driving families to marry off their daughters, as life for many refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria becomes increasingly difficult. 

Last year, Jordan's chief justice issued new stipulations allowing girls the right to demand a marriage contract with conditions including completing their education and working.  

But the United Nations children's agency says girls need even greater protections.  

"What we would like to do more is the prevention," said UNICEF's Maha Homsi. "It is working with the Sharia (Islamic law) courts and religious leaders to promote the right of girls to education and to break the cycle of poverty and prevent them from dropping out of school and going into early marriage." 

Fatima, 16, was living in a Syrian refugee camp when she got married over a year ago. She now has a five-month-old daughter and another baby on the way. 

She said that while she loves her husband and feels that her early marriage is normal, she regrets being unable to complete her education after dropping out of school when she was 10 years old. 

"I wish I could have continued my studies," she said.

"I won't let my daughter get married young. She needs to be 25 or so. It's too much responsibility." 


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