Turkey has withdrawn a controversial bill which would have pardoned men convicted of child rape, if they married the victim.
The bill, which was proposed by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), sparked protests across the country and prompted fears from the United Nations about child sex abuse.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has now sent the bill to a parliamentary subcommittee to be reworked, state-run news agency Anadolu said Tuesday.
The Turkish government said the bill would have applied to at least 3,000 men already in prison, Anadolu added.
But the United Nations said in a statement that the bill would “would create a perception of impunity in favor of perpetrators of such child rights violations.
“In addition, it would increase the risk for further victimization of the child if she marries the perpetrator of the sexual abuse.”
Following fierce criticism from opposition parties and the public, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan advised caution in moving forward with the bill.
“It is obvious that the debate that started during the negotiations of the draft law necessitates reconsideration of the issue, which leads to very different reactions, criticisms and proposals in the public opinion,” he told Anadolu.
The legal age of sexual consent in Turkey is 18, but the practice of child marriage is widespread, according to UNICEF.
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SOURCE: CNN, Sheena McKenzie