The ages of sexual consent in different countries

The age of consent at which an individual is considered legally old enough to participate in sexual activity varies from country to country around the world.

Some countries do not have a set age of consent while others have lowest legal age of consent in the world.

The minimum age of sexual consent aims to protect adolescents from abuse and from the consequences they may not be fully aware of when engaging in early sexual activity.

SEE ALSO : Women leaders oppose plans to reduce sexual consent age

Kenya is currently at a point where Court of Appeal judges are proposing a law to lower the age of consent to 16 years.

The highest age of consent in Kenya is 18 and any sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 is considered sexual abuse and is criminally sanctioned.

Three judges Roselyn Nambuye, Daniel Musinga and Patrick Kiage said on Monday that debate on lowering age of sexual consent was long overdue as men were languishing in jail for sleeping with teens "who were willing to be and appeared to be adults".

The judges referred to the sentences as an unfolding tragedy.

According to the judges, it is unrealistic to assume that teenagers and maturing adults do not engage in sex.

Instead, they observed, underage girls and boys often engage in sexual relations wilfully.

Currently, the age of consent is 16 years in 76 nations around the world and Kenya would be the newest nation to lower the age of consent if the proposed law by the judges is implemented.

However, there are countries where sexual relations are illegal between unmarried couple.

These countries have a predominant Islam population and they include Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan, Oman, Maldives, Kuwait, Iran, Gaza, Afghanistan, Sudan and Libya.

So,let's take a look at the legal age of Consent around the world from the lowest to the highest.  

11 to 12 years

Nigeria has the lowest age of consent in the world at 11 years followed by Philippines and Angola- both countries being 12 years.

13 to 14 years

The legal age of consent in Japan is 13 years same as South Korea, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Niger Comoros and Burkina Faso.

In other countries Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia,Federated States of Micronesia, Serbia, San Marino, Montenegro, Macedonia, Liechtenstein, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Estonia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Albania, Myanmar, East Timor, China, Bangladesh, Sao Tome and Principe, Mauritius, Malawi, Madagascar, Chad, Cape Verde and Democratic Republic of the Congo the age consent is 14 years.

15 to 16 years

Uruguay, Solomon, Kiribati, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Honduras, Costa Rica, Aruba, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovak, Romania, Poland, Monaco, Iceland, Greece, France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Croatia, Thailand, Syria, North Korea, Laos, Cambodia and Guinea the age of consent is 15 years.

In 76 other nations across the world the age of consent is 16 years. Venezuela, Suriname, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Palau, New Zealand, Marshall Islands, Guam, Fiji, Cook Islands, Australia, American Samoa, United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, Cuba, Caribbean Netherlands, Canada, Belize, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Switzerland, Spain, Russia, Norway  Northern Cyprus,Netherlands,Moldova,Luxembourg,Lithuania,Latvia,Kazakhstan,Georgia,Finland,Belgium,Belarus,,Azerbaijan,Armenia,Andorra,Uzbekistan,Turkmenistan,Tajikistan,Taiwan,Sri Lanka,Singapore,Nepal,Mongolia,Malaysia,Kyrgyzstan,Jordan,Israel,Indonesia,Brunei,Zimbabwe,Zambia,Togo,Swaziland,South ,Senegal, Namibia, Mauritania, Lesotho ,Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Cameroon, Algeria and Botswana.

17 to 18 years

In Nauru, Mexico, Ireland and Cyprus the age of consent is 17 years.

One cannot legally agree to a sexual relationship before they attain 18 years in Chile, Argentina, Northern Mariana Islands, Panama, Nicaragua, Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Turkey, Malta, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq, India, Bhutan Uganda, Tunisia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Rwanda, Republic of the Congo, Mali, Liberia, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Gabon, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Djibouti, Central African Republic, Burundi and Benin.

19 to 21 years

Bahrain and Portugal legal age of consent are the highest in the world at 21 followed by Niue, an Oceanian country at 19 years.

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Sexual ConsentSexual Offences ActSexual Abuse