Thirteen minors were married in Malta over the past decade, tabled in parliament show. 

The figures were provided by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri in a reply to a parliamentary question by Nationalist MP Graziella Attard Previ, who asked how many minors between the ages of 16 to 18 were married in the past 10 years. 

Camilleri said 13 minors were married in Malta and their marriage was registered. 

No other information, such as age, gender, or nationality, was provided. 

Legal loophole

According to Maltese law, one must be 18 to get married, but a 16 or 17-year-old may contract marriage if the parents consent or if authorised to do so by the courts. 

In 2019, the United Nations Committee for the Rights of the Child recommended that Malta’s marriage law should be amended to ban under18s from getting married.

In 2022, Times of Malta reported how 12 minors were married in Malta in the previous 10 years, according to figures obtained from the National Statistics Office. 

That same year, Women’s Rights Foundation founder Lara Dimitrijevic said teachers had told the foundation that some “foreign” girls “even as young as 12” disappeared from their classrooms, only to turn up weeks later saying they married an older man. 

31 miscarriages were reported by under-age girls

In another parliamentary question relating to underage girls, Attard Previ asked Health Minister Jo Etienne Abela how many girls under the age of 18 suffered a miscarriage in the past 10 years. 

A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 23 weeks, while a stillbirth is the loss after that stage. 

The minister said that according to figures from Mater Dei Hospital between 2013 to October 2023, there were 31 under-age girls whose discharge diagnosis was a miscarriage. Last year there were no reports of underage girls experiencing a miscarriage. In 2022, there were four. 

The highest number of girls under the age of 18 experiencing a miscarriage at Mater Dei Hospital was in 2016 when the hospital reported six cases. In 2018, there were five, the minister said.

According to previous Health Ministry figures, every year, more than 200 miscarriages occur in Malta. In 2021, Health Ministry figures show there were 4,477 births, 221 miscarriages and 13 stillbirths.

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