Jordanian and UN officials discussed early marriage among Syrian refugees and procedures to register them, during a workshop in Amman yesterday.
The workshop was attended by Jordan’s Interior Minister Hussein Al-Majali and Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Dania Lashkila as well as a number of relevant institutions including the Department of Civil Status and civil society organisations.
Lashkila commented on “the need to find a radical solution to this humanitarian problem”, stressing on the “Commission’s support for any solution that would benefit the women and children refugees.” She went on to praise Jordan’s role in receiving Syrian refugees and attempts to help solve the problems they face.
Jordanian civil law prohibits marriage under the age of 18.
Al-Majali said: “The workshop is trying to find solutions and recommendations for how to deal with the Syrian refugees’ marriage which violates Jordanian law. The government considers this a very important issue and wants solutions that do not violate Islamic Sharia law or civil laws and do not affect human rights.”
Director of the Department of Syrian Refugee Camp Affairs General Wadah Al-Hamoud said: “The problem puts the Directorate and competent departments in a puzzled situation either to register the children produced from such marriage contrary to the law or to register them under the ‘without nationality’ status, contrary to international humanitarian conventions.
“To register the children is a legal problem and failure to register them is a humanitarian problem,” he noted.
Syrian refugees, especially in rural areas, follow social customs requiring them to marry girls who’ve just entered puberty, which is illegal according to Jordanian law. Refugees wishing to marry young must find a religious scholar who will marry them inside the camp.
Studies reveal that Syrian refugees are conducting their marriage contracts away from the authorities because of the culture, customs and rumours of a high financial cost of marriage and security procedures.
There are no statistics for the number of marriage contracts, but the number of births among Syrian refugees is about 10,000 per year, according to previous statements by officials.
According to official statistics, the total number of Syrian refugees in Jordan amounts to more than one million refugees; including more than 600,000 registered as refugees while more than 127,000 live in the camps assigned to them. Jordan has five camps for Syrian refugees.