Indonesian women's group issues edict against child marriage

Indonesia's main Muslim women's group has issued an edict against child marriage, urging the government of the world's most populous Muslim nation to increase the legal minimum age for females to marry from 16 to 18 years.

The Congress of Indonesian Women Ulema said in a statement Friday that the religious edict, or fatwa, was decided at a three-day meeting in the West Java town of Cirebon.

The fatwa, which has no legal force but is influential, urges the government to amend a 1974 Law on Marriage to raise the minimum marriage age for women to 18.

UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, welcomed the edict, describing it as a landmark moment in efforts to end child marriage in Indonesia, where one in four women marries before age 18.