It is completely unacceptable to reduce fundamental rights instead of advocating for harsher punishments for sexual crimes.
For years, hardliners have been making excuses for most cases of rape, attributing the crimes to women or unlimited lifestyles, rather than demanding ideal punishment for poachers. Solutions are often presented in the form of lifestyles that lead to restrictions and deprivation of basic civil rights, while freeing the victim of all charges.
Another recent effort in this regard was the bill introduced by Syed Abdul Rashid of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal in the Sindh Assembly. The bill called on parents to make marriage compulsory for their children after they reach the age of 18, while imposing a fine of Rs. 500 on those who do not follow the instructions. The proposed bill, also known as the “Sindh Mandatory Marriage Act, 2021”, will oblige parents to submit an affidavit to the Deputy Commissioner’s office if they cannot marry their children by the age of 18.
Thankfully, the proposal met with such opposition from the provincial assembly and human rights organizations. According to the Women Action Forum (WAF), forcing parents to marry their children was legally, morally and economically wrong. Although we begin to classify people as adults at the age of 18, this is an important age for them, especially when it comes to their education and self-development, while pushing them into marriage. Can cause irreparable damage to their character and affect their future.
The Women’s Foundation called the bill a joke, bluntly stating that marriage should be a matter of free will and that instead of playing a positive role in society, such an action would only increase poverty and despair, leading to domestic violence. Such problems will arise.
Children’s rights activists also say such legislation contradicts Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The International Convention gives parents the fundamental right to choose their own child marriage.
According to Rashid, the reason for introducing the proposed bill was to try to curb immorality in the country and the law would allegedly reduce sex crimes. This argument is completely illogical because the study shows that the majority of the perpetrators of rape cases were married. Often children are sexually abused by relatives and even clerics, so marrying at the age of 18 can be difficult to save a child, as abuse begins when he is very young. Is.
Instead of advocating for harsher punishments for sexual crimes, it is totally unacceptable to make laws that deprive parents and children of their basic rights.
The Provincial Assembly passed the Sindh Child Marriage Restaurant Act, 2013 in April 2014, which made marriage of children under the age of 18 punishable by law, while the male contracting party, This includes a fine, as well as a parent or guardian. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 45,000.
Although this was certainly an important part of the legislation to end child marriage in Sindh, the law left room for amendment. One weakness of the law was that it did not include fines if the groom was under 18 years of age. The law cannot be effective unless there is a penalty for giving birth to a child in marriage, regardless of the sex of the child.
The law also deprives local governments of basic provisions, and union councils have the power to issue licenses to marriage registrars. In fact, the local government played barely a role in enforcing the act.
The youth of our country are our future and it is important that we create an environment for them that will help them develop their character and enable them to live their lives as strong, progressive human beings. Forcing them to get married just because the law says so is hardly a way to do so. The basic rights of a child cannot be taken away because the law cannot protect them from the scourge of sex crimes.