On the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child, Azerbaijan’s government has announced its intention to crack down on parents and others who promote child marriage.  18 is the minimum legal age for marriage under Azerbaijani family law.  ABC.AZ shared this official statement from Azerbaijan’s State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs:

We propose to toughen measures against individuals that contributed to early marriage and apply fines and other administrative measures in respect to them. In addition, according to Article 176 of the Family Code, parents are responsible for the fate of the child, and depending on the seriousness of the offense in respect of a child the crime may be punished by a fine or even imprisonment. However, this problem is a problem of the society, as local municipalities, the relevant structures of the executive authorities and NGOs should interfere in such cases of violation of children’s rights, as the girls aged 15-16 years, according to the legislation of Azerbaijan, are under-ages until they reach age of 18 years.

According to ABC.AZ, the crackdown follows an uptick in the number of forced early marriages in the country, leading in some cases to the suicides of young brides.

READ MORE: Azerbaijan prepares proposals to toughen measures against early marriage supporters, ABC.AZ (October 11, 2012).