Visit our new interactive Atlas!

Tajikistan

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
n/a
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
12%

* References

* 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)

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
n/a
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
12%

* References

* 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)

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

12% of girls in Tajikistan are married before the age of 18.

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. In Tajikistan, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Poverty: Girls are commonly seen as economic “burdens” and are married off in forced, unregistered or polygamous marriages to relieve this perceived pressure. Younger girls are seen as easier to manage by prospective families.
  • Pre-marital sex: Child marriage is sometimes considered to “safeguard” against immoral behaviour when girls grow into dukhtar (young women) at 15. Some girls express anxiety and pressure to marry at this time.
  • Level of education: Child marriage is driven by a lack of education, and also results in high numbers of girls dropping out of school. Tajikistan’s weak economy means there is little incentive to support girls in pursuing higher education before marriage.
  • Traditional customs: Some families choose religious schools for their daughters, which focus on domestic skills in preparation for marriage.
  • Religion: Some parents still turn to religious leaders (mullahs) to hold wedding ceremonies for young girls. Nikoh marriages – although not recognised legally by the state – are considered by many to have greater value than civil registration. This is more common in rural areas and does not provide girls with the rights and protections afforded by the law.
  • Gender imbalance: Many men are migrating to Russia for work, which has led to an unbalanced gender ratio in Tajikistan. Parents sometimes feel pressured to marry daughters off when a suitable groom is identified.

What has this country committed to?

Tajikistan has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The government did not provide an update on progress towards this target during its Voluntary National Review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum.

Tajikistan co-sponsored the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage.

In 1993, Tajikistan acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 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), which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During Tajikistan’s 2016 Universal Periodic Review concerns were raised about the illegal practice of underage religious marriages without civil marriage certificates. Tajikistan supported recommendations to end child marriage.

In 2013 the CEDAW Committee expressed concerns about patriarchal norms and customs which continue to contribute to child marriage and gender inequality in Tajikistan.

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

Tajikistan participated in a fifth round of human rights talks with Switzerland in February 2014. Particular emphasis was placed on the prevention of child marriage.

Following the President of Tajikistan’s oral order banning mullahs from conducting religious ceremonies before official marriage registrations have been submitted, local government officials, women leaders, religious leaders and activists have met to discuss how to more effectively prevent unregistered marriages.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Following changes to the Family Code in 2010, the legal minimum age of marriage is 18 years old. However, adolescents can still marry at the age of 17 with the special authorisation of a court. Knowledge and enforcement of the Family Code is reportedly limited among committees and state officials.

Source

Amnesty International, Violence is not just a family affair: Women face abuse in Tajikistan, 2009, (accessed February 2018)

Bakhtibekova, Z., University of Exeter, Early girls’ marriage in Tajikistan: Causes and continuity, 2014, (accessed February 2018)

Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Teenage Marriage Persists in Tajikistan, [website], 2014, (accessed February 2018)

Ministry of Health Tajikistan, Tajikistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012, 2013, (accessed April 2018)

Public Organizations of Tajikistan, The Second Shadow Report on the Realization of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 2012, (accessed February 2018)

UNFPA, Child Marriage in Tajikistan (Overview): 2014 (accessed February 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Tajikistan, 2016, p.8, 18, (accessed February 2018)

UN General Assembly, Summary prepared by OHCHR: Tajikistan, 2016, (accessed February 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)