CAIRO: The regional meeting on combating child marriage and harmful traditional practices in North Africa will kick off Sunday in a Cairo hotel, Youm7 reported.
The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and representatives from all member states of the African Union as well as regional economic blocs and the civil society will attend the meeting.
The meeting will discuss early marriages and other traditional practices in the framework of societal development and linking them to the ultimate goals of the African Union.
It will also touch on training people who work in the field to manage development plans and socioeconomic strategies.
In November, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi removed an Egyptian reservation on the African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of the Child; the reservation had been placed on an article that bans marriage before 18 and that makes marriage documentation in an official registry compulsory.
Some 15 percent of all Egyptian marriages involve a party below the age of 18, and are mainly in deprived areas, Minister of Population Hala Youssef said in a July, 2015 statement.
A total of 88,000 Urfi ( unofficial, but some argue Islamically sound) marriages were converted into registered marriages in 2014; 62,000 of which included girls who were below 18 when they got married, according to the annual report of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS.)
Some families resort to Urfi marriage to get around the law that bans documented marriage before the age of 18; while many couples register the marriage after one or both of them turn 18, Urfi marriage is a major risk because it deprives wives from her marital and divorce rights.