Egypt’s National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) announced that it realised on social media platforms photos and posts about an engagement ceremony for two children aged 15 and 12-years-old in an apartment in Kafr Hassan village located in Samannoud City in Gharbeya. Therefore, they decided to intervene to stop this marriage.
Subsequently, Secretary General of the NCCM, Azza El Ashmawy, notified the child hotline to take legal action.
El- Ashmawy stated that the NCCM informed the public prosecution about the incident in order to take legal action, with the aim of preventing the completion of this marriage until children reach the legal age of 18, as the Egyptian Marriage Laws set the legal age of marriage at 18.
Furthermore, El Ashmawy said that the general committee for the protection of childhood in the governorate of Gharbeya met with the families of the two children and offered counselling services and advice of the dangers and harms of early marriage, and took the necessary steps for the families not to marry the children off before they reach the legal age.
For her part, Sakina Fouad, adviser to former interim president Adly Mansour for women’s affairs, expressed her happiness with the NCCM’s intervention, asserting that child marriage is considered a violation of childhood, and should be considered as child trafficking.
“Economic conditions and the lack of girls’ awareness about their rights as well as the parents’ exploitation of some girls’ weaknesses, and their lack of awareness of their rights, are all reasons behind the hike in the number of child marriages in Egypt,” she explained.
She elaborated further that this negative practice already existed, but what helped it return at such high rates in 2013 was when the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in the country. At the time, the Brotherhood predominant parliament proposed a law to drop the minimum age for female marriage to 16-years-old, but happily, Fouad said, parliament was dissolved before the law was approved.
“Unfortunately, the crime still exists. Yet trafficking in the name of religion and using it as a cover for backwardness and extremism is the base of the matter, which is a violation of the wellbeing of the girl and the rights of women,” Fouad asserted.
She concluded that there is a need to increase religious awareness of the true religion, noting that religious awareness is what will prevent this negative practice.