Mexican legislators approve punishing child marriage with prison


Legislators also approved reforms to specify the responsibility of authorities at the three levels of government to prevent child marriages.

The Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved by 474 votes, reforms to the Federal Penal Code to punish forced marriages between minors with sentences of eight to fifteen years in prison and a thousand to two thousand five hundred days of fine.

In addition, the penalty will increase by up to one-half, in its minimum and maximum, if the victim belongs to an indigenous or Afro-Mexican people or community. The sanctions will be imprescriptible.

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The law incorporates a chapter entitled “Forced Cohabitation of Persons Under Eighteen Years of Age or of Persons who do not have the capacity to understand the meaning of the Act or of Persons who do not have the Capacity to Resist it.”

Article 209 Quáter establishes that this type of crime is committed by those who force, coerce, induce, request, manage or offer minors to unite informally or customarily, with or without their consent, with someone of the same age or over 18 years of age, with them in order to live together constantly and comparable to that of a married couple.

The reform states that marriage between minors or early union constitutes a figure that threatens the best interests of children because it represents an impairment of their fundamental rights to the detriment of their training and development.

Deputy Lizbeth Mata Lozano (PAN), secretary of the Justice Commission, explained that it is an autonomous criminal type called forced cohabitation because it is the common feature that the legislation determines for permanent relationships between people, both in the institution matrimonial as in figures such as concubinage; From it, the informal union or comparable to marriage is also recovered as an objective criterion.

She stressed that by classifying forced cohabitation as a crime, the protection framework for the rights of children and adolescents will be strengthened and their normal psychosexual development will be guaranteed.

For her part, the deputy Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza (PRI) emphasized that it is not only an act that guarantees the defense of the human rights of girls, but that it is an affirmative action in an emergency because they are stealing their lives, dreams and future.

For his part, the morena deputy Ángel Miguel Rodríguez Torres, presented a reservation, which was accepted,  to include the word “Afro-Mexican” in the last paragraph of article 209-Quáter .

He affirmed that in this way the reform is harmonized and “safeguards the rights of Afro-Mexican peoples.”

In addition, the Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved reforms to the General Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents, to specify the responsibility of authorities of the three levels of government to prevent child marriages.

The opinion establishes that the minimum age for marriage is 18 years and that the federal authorities, the federal entities, municipal authorities and the territorial demarcations of Mexico City, within the scope of their powers, must adopt comprehensive measures to the protection of girls, boys and adolescents against harmful practices of assignment for consideration or free of charge for the purpose of formal and informal or customary union.

These measures must establish affirmative actions regarding girls, boys, and adolescents who are part of indigenous, Afro-Mexican communities, with disabilities, in a situation of migration, displacement, or social exclusion.

Both opinions were sent to the Senate for its ruling, discussion, and, where appropriate, approval.

Mexico Daily Post