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 Singapore.
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 Singapore.
What has this country committed to?
Singapore has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals and mentioned its ongoing work to address the target in its 2018 Voluntary National Review at the High Level Political Forum, the mechanism through which countries report progress on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
Singapore co-sponsored the 2014 UN General Assembly resolution on child, early and forced marriage, and the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage. In 2014, Singapore signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.
Singapore has committed to the ASEAN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Violence against Children (2013), which acknowledges the importance of strengthening ASEAN efforts to protect children from all forms of violence, including early marriage.
Singapore acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1995, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1995, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.
In 2017 the CEDAW Committee recommended that Singapore abolish exceptions to the marriage of girls under 18 with regard to civil and Muslim marriages.
What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?
With regard to civil marriages, a girl under 18 years of age may marry with parental consent, a special marriage licence and permission from the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
However under the Muslim Law Act, a woman may not marry without a wali (male next of kin) present. A kadi (official of religious standing) may solemnise the marriage of a girl under the age of 18 who has attained puberty. A Muslim man may also marry up to four women without the consent of his existing wives.
ASEAN Commission on the Rights of Women and Children, The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Elimination of Violence against Children in ASEAN, 2013, (accessed February 2018)
UN CEDAW, Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Singapore, 2017, p.12, (accessed April 2018)
United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, (accessed February 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)