Photo credit: Adam Patterson | Panos | DFID
Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 18
* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old.
* According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2016.
There is little information about the scale of child marriage in Lebanon. Official data suggests that 6% of girls are married by age 18.
In February 2013, when around 200,000 Syrian refugees had arrived in Lebanon, a Child Protection Rapid Assessment revealed that child marriage was increasingly becoming an issue. Destitute Syrian families decide to marry their daughters off in the hope that a man will be able to provide financial and physical support and protection for their daughters.
Legal age of marriage
There is no common minimum age of marriage for girls and women across the country. Different religious communities have personal status laws that govern legal procedures on matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance.
On 7 December 2016, the Lebanese parliament’s Administration and Justice Committee agreed to abolish Article 522 of the Penal Code, which allows rapists to avoid prosecution if they marry their victims.
National initiatives to end child marriage
The National Commission for Lebanese Women, a state body on women’s rights, is working on a draft law that would increase the age of marriage but they anticipate resistance from religious leaders.
Lebanon is also working to address child marriage in Syrian refugee camps.
Members In Lebanon
- CARE, ‘To protect her honour’: Child marriage in emergencies – the fatal confusion between protecting girls and sexual violence, 2015
- UNICEF, Lebanon – MENA: Gender Equality Profile. Status of Girls and Women in the Middle East and North Africa, 2011