Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s public defender recommends amending the Civil Code so that only the courts may give permission for 16 to 18 year olds to marry.

The public defender has prepared a draft bill which was submitted to parliament on May 25.

Youth between 16 to 18 may currently get married with permission from their parents, but the public defender believes that it is often the parents who are the initiators of early marriages, and in some cases they are forced.

“The amendment will grant make it possible to prevent such cases, and if there are valid reasons the court would consider the possibility of minors’ marriage,” Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili explains.

DF Watch has reported several times on the problem of early marriage in Georgia. It is particularly a problem in the southeast of Georgia and in Pankisi, a region in the northeast bordering with Chechnya.

A recent study showed that 42% of ethnic minority (Azeri and Armenian) women in Kvemo Kartli got married when they were 13-18 years old. More specifically, 30% of women got married when they were 17-18 years old, 16% of women got married at the age of 15-16, and 5% got married when they were 13-14 years old.