On 5th November 2015 the minimum age of marriage for both boys and girls was raised to eighteen in Guatemala.
Guatemala's Congress voted 87 to 15 in favour of raising the minimum age of marriage from fourteen to eighteen for girls and from sixteen to eighteen for boys. However, the new legislation contains a provision that allows sixteen year old girls to marry with the consent of a judge. This stipulation means that Guatemalan law is not in line with recommendations by the Committee on the Rights of the Child and Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women that the minimum age of marriage be set no lower than eighteen for both sexes.
Congressman Leonel Lira says the bill will treat sex with underage youths as a form of rape.
UNICEF expert Juan Quinonez says there have been about 4,000 marriages a year in Guatemala involving girls ages fifteen to nineteen. He says 4,700 girls from age ten to fourteen get pregnant every year.
According to UNICEF statistics, for the period 2002 -2012, 7% of girls were married by fifteen and 30% by eighteen.
For further information, see the following Right to Education Project pages:
- Women’s and girls’ right to education
- Minimum age legislation
- Comparative table on minimum age legislation, including minimum age of marriage for all States parties reporting to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
- General Assembly Resolution on Early, Child and Forced Marriage (A/C.3/69/L.23)
- Girls Not Brides
- Child, Bride, Mother (New York Times)