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PP hopes to increase minimum marriage age to 18
SPAIN'S government wants to increase the minimum age for marriage from 16 to 18 after learning that over 800 minors became husbands or wives between 2013 and 2016.
The reigning right-wing PP party, which is in a minority, has asked the mostly-left wing opposition to support its proposal, which in in line with recommendations by the United Nations and other international organisations working for the protection of women and children.
Like in the UK and in many other western countries, a 16-year-old can legally take the major decision to get married – and yet cannot even vote in a local or general election.
And in Spain, 16- and 17-year-olds are considered 'children' in every sense – tourists of this age, although technically adults in other EU countries, would be taken into care if found unaccompanied in the country, and although the minimum age for sexual consent in Spain is 16, a girl of 16 or 17 who becomes pregnant would normally spark an inquiry into her family situation.
The PP stresses it does not want to 'limit rights' of men and women aged 16 and 17, but seeks to 'guarantee their full development as adults' before they 'take actions that could potentially change their present and future completely'.
Their aim is to 'protect minors above and beyond anyone else' in situations where a 'power imbalance' may be present.
Amendments to Spain's childhood and adolescence protection system in 2015 made it the first country in the world to put minors' interests in priority position and provide them with substantial rights and procedures to be followed where these are breached.
In the last year, the age of consent for sexual relations has been lifted to 16 from 13, and forced marriage has been categorised as a criminal offence, whatever the age of the victim.
One in three girls in developing countries are aged under 18 when they marry, and even in Spain, 807 'children' got married over the four years until the end of 2016, or approximately 202 per year.
The PP argues that if a person has to be 18 or more to vote, learn to drive or actually drive a car, drink alcohol, smoke or buy cigarettes, he or she should also be at least that age before being able to get married.
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