ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Over the past four months, about 1,000 girls under the age of 18 have been married in the province of Kurdistan, a local official said on Saturday.
“Out of the 4,505 registered marriage cases in the [Kurdistan] province in the past four months of this year, 970 cases for women and 36 for men were under the age of 18,” Hassan Zumi, Director General of the Civil Status Registration of Sanandaj, told local Iranian media.
He mentioned that the 970 cases for underage females made up 21 percent of the total marriage in the province, and the 36 cases for underage males, younger than 18, accounted for eight percent.
Kurdistan Province is part of Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat) located in northwestern Iran on the border with the Kurdistan Region. According to 2016 data, the province has a population of 1.6 million people, predominantly Kurds.
Poverty is one of the main factors for child marriage in the country, according to activists defending children’s rights.
Child marriage, mostly done through pressure from parents, has led to an increase in suicide and divorce rates.
Estimates from the United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, in 2016 indicate that 17 percent of girls in Iran were married before the age of 18.
According to statistics from the Iranian National Organization for Civil Registration quoted in 2015 by the Center for Human Rights in Iran, over 40,000 girls under the age of 15 had registered their marriages during the previous year.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany