Commission supports Bill declaring child marriages illegal
Proposed 'Girls Not Brides' Act welcomed as a step forward to strengthen protection of children in the Philippines.
The approval on the third and final reading by the Senate of a measure declaring child marriages as illegal is a step forward to strengthen protection for children, the Commission on Human Rights said in a statement.
Senate Bill No. 1373 – or the proposed Girls Not Brides Act – treats a marriage between a minor (below 18 years) and an adult as a crime. It also penalises any person who facilitates or solemnises a such union.
The Bill stresses that child marriage "debases, degrades and demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of children".
Let us provide better opportunities for children through better access to education and self-growth so they may carve for themselves the future that they aspire to and deserve.
"Ultimately, this affirms the government's commitment to uphold the best interest of the child by recognising child marriage as a form of child abuse," CHR spokesperson Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia said.
The Bill also recognises treaties entered into by the government and domestic legislation for the protection of women and children, including the Convention on the Rights of Child; the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women; and the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitations and Discrimination Act.
"Equally important is the bill's recognition that duty-bearers, specifically government agencies and officials, should ensure that women and girls genuinely participate in breathing life to this bill, from consultations through every step of decision-making," Atty de Guia said.
"While this bill might clash with current cultural practices in the Philippines, we look forward to the culturally-appropriate comprehensive programmes and services to be formulated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in coordination with other government agencies."
Date: 10 November 2020
Source: Commission on Human Rights
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