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Spain raises minimum age for marriage from 14 to 16

© Grand Velas Riviera Maya via Flickr

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2015-07-23

Spain has raised the minimum age for marriage from 14 to 16 to boost protection of minors and bring the country in line with its European neighbours.

Spanish law had previously allowed boys and girls to marry at 14 with permission from a judge.

It was one of lowest minimum ages in the European Union, with most members setting it at 16.

The change came into effect on Thursday and follows recommendations from United Nations and child protection groups.

The change will affect few, as over the past 14 years just 365 under-16s have married.

Spain also raised the minimum age for consent to sexual relations from 13 to 16, which it has been repeatedly asked to do by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Council of Europe.

Carlos Martínez-Almeida, president of advocacy group Childhood Platform told news agency Europa Press that the marriage law, “expands the protection of children in Spain, preventing abuse against minors by adults, facilitating the fight against paedophilia and forced marriages, and making national legislation more coherent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

In France, the minimum age for marriage was raised from 15 to 18 in 2006, although judges can allow couples to marry younger in exceptional circumstances, such as pregnancy.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

Date created : 2015-07-23