Polygamy in Eritrea

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Since the introduction of the current Marriage Law introduced by the EPLF in 1977, polygamy has been illegal in Eritrea.[1] While the Government of Eritrea does not recognize polygamous marriages under civil law, districts governed by Sharia Law (or Islamic law) are exempt from this law and therefore are free to recognize polygamous marriages.[2] In such regions, polygamous marriages, which are permitted up to four wives, are legal for all Muslim men. An estimated 50% of the Eritrean population is Muslim.[3]

As stated in the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, Eritrean areas with Sharia law implanted allow for Muslim men to have as many as four wives at a time. The husband is required to care after each wife equally. However, according to recent reports, the practice of polygamy is beginning to decrease due to primarily economic reasons.[4]