The marriage of a 51-year-old Yazidi man to a 14-year-old girl has been dissolved after causing controversy, according to a Yazidi official who said the man regrets the marriage.
It is not clear when Sheikh Jouqi Salo, from the Doumiz area of Duhok province, married the girl, who is from Shingal. The union was not officially registered and has now been annulled, according to a Yazidi community representative.
“Their marriage has been dissolved,” Jawhar Ali Bag, a deputy to Mir Hazim Tahsin Beg, chief of the Yazidi community, said late on Thursday. He said his office contacted Salo, who said he “made a mistake and is sorry and will not repeat such a thing.”
Their marriage was condemned when it became public this week.
According to Khayri Bozani, representative of Yazidis at the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) ministry of endowment, the Yazidi religion does not allow marriage under the age of 18. “What happened was a social affair and is not related to the government,” he told Rudaw.
The minimum age of marriage in the Kurdistan Region is 18, though a 16-year-old can marry with a judge’s order and the consent of their legal guardian. Anyone forcing someone into marriage, can face up to five years in jail.
According to 2018 data from Central Statistics Organization (CSO), which is affiliated with the Iraqi planning ministry, 1.8 percent of women reported marrying under the age of 15 in Duhok province and 8.1 percent reported marrying under the age of 18.
Aid agencies reported an increase in child marriage among displaced populations in difficult socio-economic and living conditions during the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).
Wednesday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the start of a 16-day global campaign against gender-based violence (GBV), including child and forced marriage.