The German Federal Supreme Court has made a new ruling on a child marriage case which could have implications on the way child marriages conducted legally overseas are treated in the country.
The ruling comes from a case involving a Syrian man who was separated from his underage “wife” when the pair arrived in Germany as asylum seekers in August 2015, Die Welt reports.
The pair, cousins, were married in February 2015 while the man was aged 21 and the girl aged only 14 in a marriage procedure that was done under sharia legally in Syria but was considered invalid by German authorities where the marriage age was 16 at the time.
After his “wife” had been taken into separate care due to her status as a minor, the Syrian man complained to German courts which initially granted him weekend access to her with a district court claiming the marriage had not been forced.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 15, 2016
The case was then sent up to the Federal Supreme Court which has now ruled that the marriage between the pair should be examined on the basis of its legal status in Syria. Such cases in the future should be looked at on an individual basis, the court said, instead of a blanket refusal to recognise them — as was the procedure previously.
In Germany, protection of marriage and family are enshrined in the Basic Law, as well as the principle of equal treatment, and both could be violated under the ban on child marriages.
Since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, Germany has seen a huge surge in the number of child marriage cases with at least 1,000 cases being known as far back as 2016.
Germany passed a law to raise the marriage age to 18 last year to combat child marriages but the new ruling could be a blow to the legislation.
Sweden, which also took in a large number of migrants since 2015, has also banned child marriages and has had somewhat more success having recently convicted a couple in 2018 for attempting to force their underage daughter into an arranged marriage.
Sweden Votes to Stop Recognising Child Marriage Despite Resistance from Government Parties https://t.co/WV40OoNFHa
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 26, 2018