The impoverished South Asian nation has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, despite a three-decade-old law which bans marriage for girls under the age of 18.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, The Elders, a group set up by anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, said they were concerned to learn that the Bangladeshi cabinet had approved provisions in the Child Marriage Restraint Act to lower the minimum age of marriage.
"Such a change in legislation would be a step in the wrong direction as it would undermine efforts to reduce poverty and improve the welfare of girls and women across Bangladesh," said the letter signed by Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary General and chair of The Elders.
"We urge you to maintain the minimum age of marriage for girls at 18 years of age," added the letter published on The Elders' website."
Read article by Nita Bhalla from Thomson Reuters Foundation.