The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) has taken measures regarding the engagement of two children in Kafr el-Sheikh, NCCM Secretary General Azza al-Ashmawy said.
A video showing an engagement celebration of a 15-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl went viral on social networking websites, stirring the criticism of users.
According to Ashmawy, the NCCM’s child helpline received a notification about the incident, after which the council’s General Committee for Child Protection in Kafr el-Sheikh was instructed to investigate.
NCCM representatives visited the parents of the two children and provided advice to them, after which the parents promised that the two children would not get married before the legal age, 18 years old, in accordance with the Civil Status Act and the Children’s Code, so that they would have full awareness.
Saber Abdel Moneim, Rapporteur of the General Committee for Child Protection in Kafr el-Sheikh, said that as soon as he saw the video clip of the engagement, he contacted the legal specialist of the committee in Desouq, where the incident occurred, to file a claim of the incident at the Desouq police station.
An official CAPMAS report found that 117,000 children between 10 and 18 in Egypt are (or have been) married, despite a national campaign against the phenomenon.
Upper Egypt accounted for the highest percentage of child marriages and divorces in the report.
Outskirt areas such as the Red Sea, Sinai, Marsa Matrouh and Aswan recorded a much lower 1.3 percent.
Such statistics led to the proposal of a new draft law in June 2018 aiming to criminalize child marriage. The draft law would bring with it a penalty of up to one-year imprisonment for those involved, while also taking children away from parents who allow them to be married.
The bill also stipulates that the Mazoun (an official who performs the marriage) must notify the General Prosecution if a child marriage is occurring. Failure to do so would be met with job suspension and one-year imprisonment.
Finally, the bill states that any marriage contract of a person under 18 would not be authenticated and could not be ratified without approval from the family court.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm