Egypt’s National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) has successfully stopped five attempts to marry off girls below the age of 18 (the youngest age for marriage according to the Egyptian Constitution and law) in the northern governorate of Gharbiya and southern governorate of Minya.
According to Sahar al-Sunbati, Secretary-General of the NCCM, the council received through the child helpline 16000, information of the intended weddings which had been scheduled to take place during Eid al-Fitr, the feast days that come at the end of the Muslim holy month of fasting, Ramadan. Once the NCCM received the phone calls for help, all legal procedures were taken to protect the girls who were being prematurely married and afford all means of support.
Ms Sunbati explained that the intended marriages involved two girls aged 15 and 16 from the town of al-Mehalla al-Kubra in the mid-Delta region of Gharbiya, and another 16-year-old from the village of San al-Hagar in the same region. The fourth and fifth cases involved 16 and 17-year-old girls from Minya region some 250km south of Cairo.
The NCCM collaborated with local officials and social workers to reach the parents of the girls and explain to them the illegality of under age marriage, and the potential harm it carries for their daughters. The parents of the girls signed pledge that they would not marry off their daughters before the legal age of 18.
Ms Sunbati thanked the Public Prosecutor, and the officials at the Child-Rescue office for their prompt response to the NCCM’s notifications. She also expressed her gratitude to the Ministry of Interior for its efforts in child protection.
“The NCCM stands firm against harmful practices and childhood violations,” Ms Sunbati noted. She called on all to promptly report any such cases through the 24/7 child helpline 16000; the WhatsApp number 01102121600; or the official web page of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood.
20 May 2021