Germany's cabinet Wednesday moved to ban child marriages after the recent mass refugee influx brought in many couples where one or both partners were aged under 18.
The new law, set to receive parliamentary approval by July, is seen as a protective move especially for girls by annulling foreign marriages involving minors.
It will allow youth welfare workers to take into care underaged girls even if they were legally married abroad and, if deemed necessary, separate them from their husbands.
"Children do not belong in the marriage registry office or the wedding hall," said Justice Minister Heiko Maas.
"We must not tolerate any marriages that harm minors in their development."
"The underaged must be protected as much as possible," he added, stressing that no minor must suffer restrictions on their asylum or residential status as a result of the change.
.... There were 1,475 married minors registered in Germany last July -- 361 of them aged under 14 -- according to the latest figures released after a parliamentary request.
Of these 1,152 were girls, said the interior ministry.
The largest group, 664 children, came from Syria followed by 157 from Afghanistan, 100 from Iraq, and 65 from Bulgaria.
The conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung welcomed the bill, saying that "archaic practises that harm women and children have no place" in Germany. [AFP] Read more