Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

Kyrgyz lawmakers vote to toughen law on bride kidnapping

Publisher Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Publication Date 18 October 2012
Cite as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Kyrgyz lawmakers vote to toughen law on bride kidnapping, 18 October 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5089073e28.html [accessed 19 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

October 18, 2012

By RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

Protesters against the practice show a photograph during a Karakol, Kyrgyzstan rally of a kidnapped bride. (file photo)Protesters against the practice show a photograph during a Karakol, Kyrgyzstan rally of a kidnapped bride. (file photo)

BISHKEK – Kyrgyz lawmakers have passed a bill in its second reading to increase the maximum jail term for bride kidnapping from three to 10 years.

A third reading is needed before the new legislation is adopted by parliament and the president needs to ratify the bill for it to enter into force.

The legislation's supporters say it will help better protect women's rights and tackle the persistent phenomenon of early marriage in Kyrgyzstan.

There is no reliable figure, but rights activists estimated nearly 12,000 women and girls are kidnapped and forced into marriage annually in Kyrgyzstan.

Many of the abducted brides are less than 18 – the minimum legal age for marriage.

Critics say women and girls coerced into early marriage often are denied legal rights and opportunities of education, and become the victims of forced domestic labor.

Early marriage is generally not registered with the state, leaving the girls with few legal rights.

Some 30 Kyrgyz human rights activists picketed the parliament earlier on October 18, demanding tougher punishment.

Link to original story on RFE/RL website

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