Lawmakers in Iran have passed a bill allowing a man to marry his adopted daughter while she is as young as 13. Human rights activists and others are outraged, claiming the law “legalizes pedophilia.”
The Guardian reports Parliamentarians in Iran passed a bill last Sunday claiming to protect the rights of children. However, the bill includes a clause that allows a man to marry his adopted daughter as long as she is 13 years of age or older.
Shadi Sadr, a human rights lawyer with the London-based group Justice for Iran, told the Guardian “This bill is legalising paedophilia." Sadr warns "It's not part of the Iranian culture to marry your adopted child. Obviously incest exists in Iran more or less as it happens in other countries across the world, but this bill is legalising paedophilia and is endangering our children and normalising this crime in our culture."
"With this bill, you can be a pedophile and get your bait in the pretext of adopting children," Sadr said.
Iran's Guardian Council, a body of clerics and jurists which vets all parliamentary bills before the constitution and the Islamic law, has yet to issue its verdict on the controversial legislation.
Currently under Iranian law, girls may marry at 13 and boys at 15, and children under 10 may marry with the approval of their guardian and the court.
IBT reports hundreds of girls below the age of 10 each year are forced into marriage in Iran every year, and the trend is experiencing a dramatic increase.
According to recent data released by Iran's Association of Children's Rights, the number of girls married in Iran under the age of 15 went from 33,383 in 2006 to 43,459 in 2009, a 30 percent increase in three years.
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