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Uzbekistan

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
n/a
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
7%

* 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
7%

* 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?

According to the most recent available data from 2006, 7% of girls in Uzbekistan are married before their 18th birthday.

Child marriage is slightly more prevalent in the Eastern region of the country.
It is difficult to accurately track child marriages in Uzbekistan as many take place through religious weddings – nikahs – and are only officially registered when a girl reaches the legal age for marriage.

Divorce rates from child marriage are high in Uzbekistan. This is often due to girls being unable to cope with their new family situations, or husbands forcibly throwing young wives out.

Unlike global trends, child marriage in Uzbekistan is less driven by poverty and more so traditional attitudes and the need to secure a good “match” for girls.

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 Uzbekistan, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Gender norms: Some girls marry “earlier rather than later” in order to meet traditional expectations that they become mothers and wives. This results in them abandoning school in order to prepare for married life.
  • Power dynamics: Some parents consider it to be their duty to marry off their daughters at a young age, and work with prospective grooms’ parents to negotiate and agree marriage terms. Girls have limited decision-making power and some have reported feeling unequal to their husbands once married.
  • Family honour: Some families marry off their daughters in order to preserve their innocence before they become “spoiled”. Loss of virginity before marriage is considered a disgrace to families.
  • Religion: Despite the Spiritual Administration of Muslims’ 2009 internal regulation stating that nikahs can only be carried out by official imams and after official state registration of a marriage, many couples continue asking informal community members to perform religious weddings. This leaves girls extremely vulnerable and with no legal or financial protection.

What has this country committed to?

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

Uzbekistan acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, 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.

During its 2015 review, the CEDAW Committee recommended that the government raise awareness on the importance of eliminating child marriage among traditional leaders, representatives of local mahalla committees and society at large.

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

Uzbekistan’s Women’s Committee cooperates with local mahalla committees to conduct awareness-raising campaigns on the harm caused by child marriage.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

The 1998 Family Code stipulates that men have the right to contract a marriage from the age of 18 and women from the age of 17. In exceptional circumstances, the khokim (mayor) of a district or town has the right to reduce the marriageable age, but not by more than a year, under Article 15. The code does not provide a precise list of such exceptional circumstances, leaving this to the discretion of the authorities.

In May 2013, new provisions were introduced into the Administrative and Criminal Codes to increase punishment for officials, religious leaders and parents who allow child marriage to take place, including fines and imprisonment.

Source

UNFPA, Child marriage in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: regional overview, 2014, http://eeca.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/Child%20Marriage%20EECA%20Regional%20Overview.pdf (accessed May 2018)

UNFPA, Child Marriage in Uzbekistan: (Overview), 2014, http://eeca.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/unfpa%20uzbekistan%20overview.pdf (accessed May 2018)

UNICEF and State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2006, Final
Report, 2007, https://mics-surveys-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/MICS3/Europe%20and%20Central%20Asia/Uzbekistan/2006/Final/Uzbekistan%202006%20MICS_English.pdf (accessed May 2018)

UN CEDAW, Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report
of Uzbekistan, 2015, p.10, http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW/C/UZB/CO/5&Lang=En (accessed May 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5 (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)