Guatemalan Civil Society Networks Gain Success in Ending Child Marriage
With the support of the USAID-funded HP+ Guatemala (HEP+) and the successful advocacy of local networks, the Congress of Guatemala on August 17th approved a revision to the civil code to prohibit the marriage of minors, with no exceptions. A previous 2015 law established 18 years as the legal age of marriage, but judges could rule on exceptions, leading to marriage for 4,743 minors (13 and 17 years old) between 2015 and 2016. The revised civil code eliminates the loophole. Local organizations, including the National Alliance of Organizations for Reproductive Health of Indigenous Women of Guatemala (ALIANMISAR) and the National Network of Men (la Red Nacional de Hombres), with support from HEP+, used multi-faceted advocacy strategies to bring an end to child marriage. The elimination of the exception in the civil code means a brighter future for girls in Guatemala as it breaks the vicious cycle of "children raising children." The advocacy groups will continue to conduct outreach to local judges to monitor enforcement.
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