The MP’s Club held a working meeting on the topic “Juvenile Marriages” yesterday. The event was organized in cooperation with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The working meeting was attended by MPs from most of the parliamentary groups in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia.

The Coordinator of the MP’s Club, Gulumser Kasapi, in the introduction statement said that juvenile marriages are a burning problem at international level. She pointed out the remarks of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Report of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in the Republic of Macedonia.


Nesime Salioska, executive director of ROMA SOS Prilep presented the findings and recommendations of their research conducted in the Republic of Macedonia “The gray area between tradition and children’s rights”. The recommendations include harmonization of existing legislation in order to explicitly ensure that the minimum legal age is 18 years for a person to live in a marriage and provision legal mechanisms; the introduction of an institutional system for recording and monitoring marriages between and with persons under the age of 18 and developing a special program for the protection and prevention of marriage under 18 years of age.

Cvetanka Ivanova, Secretary General of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, was involved in the research itself as a legal expert. She referred to the legal framework and stressed out that Republic of Macedonia does not have an integrated system that addresses this problem and, unfortunately, the exception becomes a rule. Although the lower limit has been established in the Constitution and in the law, the Republic of Macedonia approves the conclusion of marriages by the age of 16, since her research showed that no application submitted for marriage under 18 years has been refused, and this must not be allowed. Changes in existing legislation are required, including Article 197 of the Criminal Code and Article 16 of the Family Law, as well as laws on primary and secondary education.

Subsequently, representatives of ministries of labor and social policy, justice, education and internal affairs spoke about the current and future activities of their ministries.

Gjulten Mustafova and Svetlana Cvetkovska from the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy pointed out that the Family Law will change and is expected to be completed by August 2019 and called for a comprehensive discussion on the law, and that currently the Law on Gender-Based Violence is being drafted, first in the region of this type.

Tatiana Kikerekova from the Ministry of Justice noted that it is important to act on the factors that generate this phenomenon as well as on prevention.

Nezihtere Sulejmani from The Ministry of Education noted that with the introduction of compulsory secondary education, there are already results in terms of reducing this phenomenon.

Jasminka Angelova from the Ministry of Interior shared statistical data regarding Article 197 of the Criminal Code for 2017 (12 criminal acts against 17 perpetrators) and 2018 (18 criminal offenses against 24 perpetrators), but also urged the Legislature to adopt the legal changes, and they as a ministry will certainly ensure their implementation.

In the framework of the discussion in which the MPs, MP Samka Ibraimovski and the representatives of the ministries took part, wide support was given from all political parties for sooner amending of Article 197 of the Criminal Code. It was proposed instead of the term “juvenile marriages” to use the term “child marriages” in accordance with international conventions.

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