Navigation

Press Review: a legal regulation of child marriages?

Photo: Colourbox.de

Since the beginning of the so-called ‘refugee-crisis’, more and more under-aged girls enter Germany accompanied by their full-aged husbands. It is impossible to capture how many of them there actually are, since not all German federal states register under-age-marriages. “A reliable estimate of the numbers is almost impossible to form”, says Mathias Rohe, Islamic Scholar and jurisprudent. “However, it is certain that we are not talking about individual cases. Hence, it is a relevant concern.”

Rohe misses a clear-cut course from society and judiciary. The federal states were to lay down these cases of under-age-marriage down by law. In Germany, under-age-marriages at the age of at least 16 years are only allowed in exceptional cases, meaning that the other partner has to have already come of age and the legal guardians have to accept the marriage. For marriage contracts from abroad, Rohe supports a consistent arrangement of only accepting full-age-marriages, since “in many other states we do not have certainty that the child’s guardians or the state only act in the child’s best interests when agreeing to such a marriage.”

Furthermore, Rohe calls for “enough ressources to show the people immigrating to Germany the local legal situation.” It had to be clear that “our fundamental believes are not up for discussion”. For Rohe, under-aged persons are unable to decide upon such a thing as marriage. This would equal a forced marriage. He explains that many people from other cultural backgrounds would don’t understand a states right to intervene in such allegedly personal matters. “For them, the state has to stay out of family disputes apart from murder manslaughter. Here, we have to communicate that our strong state provides first of all the protection of the weak.”

However, women, who deferred to a multiple marriage in their homeland, can claim financial support from their husband when it comes to heredity and alimentation. Rohe warns of categorically denying these women their claim. “By this, we would victimize them once more”, he says.

More on this topic in the articles of the WDR, the Taz, Focus Online, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Augsburger Allgemeine and on heute.de and qantara.de.