Child marriage remains worldwide concern

According to Equality Now, child marriage remains a worldwide concern and it affects 15 million girls a year.Equity Now says in a release that the devastating effects of child marriage cannot be ignored and it is a violation of the health and development rights of girls.

International Day of the Girl Child is commemorated every year on 11th October, and the day serves as a constant reminder of the challenges that girls face, while promoting empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights.Equality Now says Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage are intricately connected; and in most cases FGM precedes child marriage.

The group is an international human rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of women and girls around the world by combining grassroots activism with international, regional and national legal advocacy.They are international network of lawyers, activists and supporters seeking to achieve legal and systemic change by holding governments responsible for enacting and enforcing laws and policies that end legal inequality, sexual trafficking, sexual violence and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage.

According to a release issue by Equality Now, child marriage is a human rights violation, often following from and leading to further human rights violations.It is a violent and abusive practice that stems from and sustains discrimination against women and girls.

It excludes girls from decisions regarding the timing of marriage and the choice of spouse and it is also an abrupt and violent initiation into sexual relations.It further subjects them to other human rights violations such as FGM, domestic violence, trafficking, exploitation, and curtailed education.

Child brides are often isolated and because of their marital status have little access to education and other services generally provided to children in the community.

Further, the group says once a girl marries, she is often considered to have reached the age of [maturity] – thereby excluding her from any protection and programs afforded to children in the community.The group notes that child marriage is an impediment to SDG 5.3 which seeks to eliminate all harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and FGM.

By Bridgett Milton–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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