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The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Costa Rica Draft Law 19,337 has been created to provide more extensive legal protection for children and to keep them out of potentially violent situations. In particular, it will eliminate the possibility that a 15 year-old girl can get married to an older man.

To date, these types of improper connections are accepted in national legislation, to the detriment of the rights of children.

To do this, the legislation will reform the Family Code to increase the minimum age for marriage from 15 to 18 and strengthen penalties for those who commit a sex crime with minors under the Criminal Code.

The factors favoring this type of situation are the socio-economic vulnerability of minors and low schooling of their family.

“Improper connections are accepted. There is a double standard by the Costa Rican republic: first they cry out against teen pregnancy, but marriage with children under 15 years of age is accepted,” said Mauren Solis, family court judge.

The extraordinary session was convened yesterday by the Special Standing Committee on Women, chaired by Deputy Carmen Quesada.

Registry data indicates that between 2005 and 2013, the number of marriages where one or both spouses were a minor exceeded 40,000.

“Such relationships are abusive and should not be allowed. There is progress in legislation, but in the end we live in a perverse social logic under a patriarchal logic,” said Eugenia Salazar, an attorney specializing in sex crimes and domestic violence.

The authorities agree that the laws do not conform to the actual protection to the minors.

Milena Grillo, CEO of Paniamor organization, noted the urgency needed to reform this law because these types of improper relationships are abusive and affect the future of minors.

“We have no hesitation in saying that before the age of 18 you may not drive or vote, but to get married there is no obstacle. There is no effective protection for the rights of minors,” said Grillo. (ADN)10988490_10153105935532386_7678159472726436196_n

How You Can Help

A march to prevent child abuse that is sponsored and supported by The Costa Rica News will take place on the 15th of February (9:00am) in the Metropolitan Park La Sabana in downtown San Jose. Everybody who would like to join us and stand up against child maltreatment is invited.

During the demonstration we will release colored balloons to commemorate all the children who have been victims of abuse. Please bring your own balloons and come in white clothes if you can.

We would love to see you there! Check out our Facebook invite for more details or contact us with any questions.

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The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica

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