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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 Spain.

According to a 2015 report from El Pais, 365 marriages involving people under the age of 16 have taken place in Spain since 2000.

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 Spain.

A 2014 study shows that around 2% of Roma girls aged 10-15 are traditionally married or cohabiting with a partner across 11 European Union member states, including Spain. 16% of Roma men and girls aged 16-17 are legally or traditionally married or cohabiting across the 11 states.

What has this country committed to?

Spain has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, and mentioned the role of key government ministries tasked with monitoring target 5.3 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.

Spain co-sponsored the 2017 Human Rights Council resolution recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts, and the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution to end child, early and forced marriage, recognising that it is a violation of human rights.

Spain co-sponsored the 2013 and 2014 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage, and the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage. In 2014, Spain signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Spain ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1984, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2015 Universal Periodic Review, Spain agreed to examine recommendations to eliminate child marriage and increase the minimum age of marriage.

At the Girl Summit in July 2014, the government signed a charter committing to end child marriage by 2020.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

In 2015, Spain passed the voluntary jurisdiction law (Ley de Jurisdiccion Voluntaria) which raised the minimum age for marriage with judicial consent from 14 to 16 years old. The general age of marriage is 18. Prior to this, Spain had the lowest marrying age in Europe.


BBC News, Spain raises marrying age from 14 to 16, [website], 2015, (accessed April 2018)

El Pais, La ley prohibe desde hoy casarse a los menores de 16 anos, [website], 2015, (accessed April 2018)

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Addressing forced marriage in the EU: legal provisions and promising practices, 2014, (accessed March 2018)

Girl Summit 2014, The Girl Summit Charter on Ending FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, [website], 2015, (accessed February 2018)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, (accessed April 2018)

Noticias Juridicas, Ley 15/2015, de 2 de julio, de la Jurisdicción Voluntaria, [website], 2015, (accessed May 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Spain, 2015, p.20, (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)