Legal Status of Child Marriage in International Human Rights Law and the Law of Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Qom

2 Ph.D. student in International Law, Qom University



Protection of the children is one of the most important concerns in international human rights law. Child marriage is recognized as one of the forms of child abuse. The first step for elimination of child marriage is legal definition of the child. Lots of treaties have tried to determine the minimum age of a person before which he or she cannot marry. This article examines the criteria for recognizing an individual as a child and consequently child marriage in the international human rights system and domestic laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Treaties relating rights of the child do not clarify a specified minimum age for marriage except the Convention on the Rights of the Child in which a child is defined as a person below the age of 18. This criterion is based on an age-oriented approach and is aimed at homogenization of girls and boys. In contrast, in the law of Iran it is based on an interest-oriented one and it is relied on a multiple-criteria approach comprised of legal (physical or sexual) maturity, mental growth, religious maturity and guardian consent which has resulted in a more rational and defensible approach.


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