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Kuwait

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

There is no publicly available government data on child marriage in Kuwait.

The practice is reportedly common among tribal groups in the country.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys.

There is limited information on child marriage in Kuwait.

What has this country committed to?

Kuwait has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Kuwait ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1994, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2017 review, the CEDAW Committee expressed regret about the limited efforts made by Kuwait to eliminate child marriage. It highlighted serious concerns regarding the government’s stance that revision of any discriminatory provisions related to child marriage would contravene the Sharia and the Constitution. It also raised concerns about the legalisation of child marriage under Articles 24 and 26 of the Personal Status Act 1984, and recommended that the government repeal all discriminatory provisions related to child marriage.

During its 2015 Universal Periodic Review, Kuwait agreed to examine recommendations to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18.

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Personal Status Act 1984, the minimum age of marriage is 15 for girls and 17 for boys. However under Article 24 of the Act a woman may be married before the minimum age if she has reached puberty.

Source

UNICEF, KUWAIT, MENA Gender Equality Profile Status of Girls and Women in the Middle East and North Africa, 2011, (accessed June 2018)

UN CEDAW, Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Kuwait, 2017, p.3, (accessed May 2018) (accessed February 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Kuwait, 2015, p.19, (accessed May 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, (accessed February 2018)

United States State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017, Kuwait, 2018, (accessed May 2018)

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)