Child brides as young as 14 are being reunited with their older, migrant husbands in Denmark after authorities decided that upholding Danish law breached their “human rights”.
The legal minimum age for marriage is 18 in the Nordic nation, yet the exemptions are being made for migrants because separating the couples is said to violate the right to family life guaranteed in the European convention on human rights.
There are 27 migrants under 18 who were known to be married Denmark, and among the influx arriving in the past year were two 14-year-old girls, wed to 24 and 28-year-old men.
One 14-year-old was expecting a baby. The age of consent in Denmark is 15 for the rest of the population, and those found guilty of sexual acts with minors are liable for 8 years in jail.
Marriage exceptions have already been granted to 15-year-olds, but the immigration service’s ruling set a new, younger precedent. According to the Times, the Danish immigration service wrote in an official response to a parliamentary inquiry:
“In some of these cases it has been assessed that it would not be compatible with Denmark’s international obligations to maintain the separate living quarters, thus these couples have been offered housing together”.
Josephine Fock, an MP for The Alternative party who campaigned on the issue, welcomed the move.
“We are talking about people who have fled to Denmark who are being split from each other. Some of them have children together and investigating individual [asylum] cases takes an unbelievably long time,” she said.
Last month, a report in Germany found that there are more than 1,000 child brides in the country, one year after the peak of the crisis were more than half a million Asian and Middle Easter migrants arrived.
Local German courts have also allowed exceptions for 14 and 15-year-olds married abroad in cases where there were no signs of a forced union.