Although the Committee of the United Nations (UN) requested Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) four years ago to ban childmarriages, the Republika Srpska (RS) entity submitted a draft law allowing such marriages to the parliamentary procedure.
It is a completely new Family Law of the RS, which was adopted more than two decades after the adoption of the existing law with the aim of greater protection of the rights and interests of the child, and which also gives greater rights to cohabitants.
However, the provision on child marriages was retained in the new text, even after the call of the UN Committee to stop this “harmful practice” in BiH.
The provisions of the new Family Law of the RS also allow marriages for people over the age of 16 “for justified reasons”, and this is decided by the court in a non-litigation procedure.
An identical provision exists in the Family Law of the Second BiH entity, the Federation of BiH (FBiH), and also in the law of the District of Brcko.
BiH is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and is bound by the Dayton Peace Agreement to directly respect it.
The FBiH and the Brcko District did not respond to Radio Free Europe’s inquiry as to whether they would remove the provision on child marriages in accordance with the recommendations of the UN Committee.
According to the last population census from 2013, there were about 12,400 young people under the age of 17 who were married in BiH, out of the 1.76 million married people registered, Slobodna Evropa reports.