Photo credit: Landesa
Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
UNICEF 2017 % 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 (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)
12% of girls in Kyrgyzstan are married before their 18th birthday. Child marriage occurs in all regions of the country and among all ethnic groups.
According to UNFPA EECARO, child marriage in Kyrgyzstan is usually a result of bride kidnapping or parental arrangement. In most cases, decisions about marriage do not involve the girls or young women, and in cases of parental agreement, the prospective husband often doesn’t play a role.
Legal age of marriage
Under Article 14 of the Family Code, the legal minimum age of marriage is 18 years. However, local government bodies at the place of residence of the persons wishing to marry have the right, at the request of those persons, to reduce the marriage age by no more than one year.
Following changes to the Criminal Code in 2013, abducting a woman in order to marry her against her will is now a crime punishable by up to seven years’ imprisonment.
In November 2016, Kyrgyzstan’s President signed a new law on the protection of adolescent girls from early and forced marriage. The law provides for criminal liability of up to five years in prison for the participation of individuals in the organisation of a marriage, or for those who perform the religious rites between intending spouses under 18 years of age, and is applicable to members of the clergy and to the parents of the bride and groom.
- UNFPA, Child marriage in Kyrgyzstan (overview), 2014
- UNICEF, State of the World’s Children, 2016