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Afghan parliament ratifies Child Protection Act

Act criminalizes under-age marriages, covers children’s basic rights, cultural growth, safety from child labor

Shadi Khan Saif   | 09.12.2019
Afghan parliament ratifies Child Protection Act

KABUL, Afghanistan 

The parliament in Afghanistan on Monday approved the much-delayed Child Protection Act.

The crucial vote went through the lower house, Wolesi Jirga, thanks to a majority vote despite staunch opposition from many lawmakers.

In line with the new act, boys and girls under the age of 18 are considered children, and marrying someone below this age would be considered crime in the conservative country.

The act with 16 chapters and 118 articles covers diverse issues -- including children’s basic rights, social considerations, cultural growth to safety from child labor, trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The presidential palace has welcomed the parliament’s approval of the act.

“The Government of Afghanistan considers the action of MPs to reduce violence against children as effective and is committed to its implementation through government agencies”, the presidency said in a statement.

Women and child activists have hailed the landmark development, particularly criminalizing under-age marriages.

“Such a great development! This will help protect children's rights in Afghanistan”, Melisa Cornet, a lawyer at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, tweeted after the passing of the bill.

Female parliamentarians were at the forefront to make the act sail through the house. “The strongest men stood next to the women and passed this law that has been vetoed 3 years in a row! Afghanistan is making great strides into the future”, Mariam Solaimankhail, one such MP, said on Twitter.

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