Raise the minimum age of marriage for females in Bhutan from 16 to 18

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The Marriage Act of Bhutan 1980 (& Amended Marriage Act of Bhutan, 1986) states that the minimum age for marriage for boys is 18 years and 16 years for girls. This is in clear violation of the Child Care and Protection Act of Bhutan 2011 which defines a child as a person below the age of 18. Bhutan was also one of the first countries to ratify the the Convention on the Rights of the Child, without any reservations.

Early marriage has negative consequences on children and even more so for the girl child. Early marriage increases the likelihood of school dropout and in many cases, results in early pregnancy which increases the risk of the mother dying at childbirth or giving birth to a low weight baby. 

Therefore, we need to increase the minimum age of marriage for girls from 16 to 18 to protect the rights of the girl child.