Child marriage case draws attention in Malaysia

In late February 2013, a 40 year-old man was charged with the statutory rape of a 13 year-old girl in the Sabah region of Malaysia. It was later reported that the man had taken the 13 year-old girl as a second wife with consent of both his first wife and the parents of the girl in question. The case has generated much media attention in Malaysia.

In May 2013, the Attorney-General stated that the case was being investigated and that charges had been brought against the alleged assailant.

“Through early marriage, the rights of a child victim to health (emotional, physical, psychological), education and protection are seriously compromised,” stated the Malaysian Child Rights Coalition, which includes Girls Not Brides member organisations Voice of the Children, Malaysian Child Resource Institute (MCRI) and Protect and Save the Children, in response to the case.

“Where traditional practices are concerned, they must not supersede the rights of the child,” added the Coalition.

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