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Burundi government orders all unmarried couple to marry by December.

The Burundi government has given unmarried couples until December 2017 deadline to legalise their relationships through the church or state registries, Al Jazeera reports.

President Pierre Nkurunziza had in May signed a new law which the government says will help protect women and create a more moral society, but some disagree.

The government insists a legal document recognising a marriage helps protect women and their children, especially when it comes to issues such as inheritance.

However, others say the new marriage law infringes on people’s religious beliefs, customs and practices.

The Interior ministry spokesman, Terence Ntahiraja, told the AFP news agency that Burundi was facing a population explosion, which he blamed on “illegal marriages”, polygamy, bigamy and “hundreds of schoolgirls getting pregnant”.

He said church and state-sanctioned weddings were the solution and were a patriotic duty.

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