Rozaria Memorial Trust joins others in the global campaign to end child marriage. We welcome the adoption of 11 of October as the International Day of the Child Child. Below is an extract from Girls Not Brides, a global partnership to end child marriage.
Where does child marriage take place and who is affected?
- 10 million girls every year are married before they are 18. Child marriage is a truly global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities.
- Child marriage occurs around the world; 46% of girls under 18 are married in South Asia; 38% in sub-Saharan Africa; 29% in Latin America and the Caribbean; 18% in the Middle East and North Africa; and in some communities in Europe and North America too (UNICEF 2012, percentage of girls between 20 and 24 married or in union before they reach 18).
- Due to the sheer size of its population, India has the highest number of child brides in the world. It is home to one third of the world’s child brides.
- While boys are sometimes subjected to early marriage, girls are disproportionately affected and form the vast majority of the victims of child marriage.
Why is it important to address child marriage?
- Large scale; little action: Child marriage is a widespread and systematic practice that violates the rights of children around the world. It is often linked to tradition and seen as something which cannot change, but traditions are made by people – and when harmful they can and should be changed. More coordinated action needs to be taken by all actors to address this issue.
- Urgency: If we do not take action against child marriage, it is estimated that over the next decade 100 million girls will marry before they are 18. That’s a staggering level of lost potential.
- An issue that impacts many others: Child marriage directly impacts six of the eight Millennium Development Goals – the international community will not fulfil its commitments to reduce global poverty unless it tackles child marriage.
What is the impact of early marriage on girls?
- Education: Child brides usually drop out of school and are denied the opportunity to complete their education, significantly reducing their ability to earn an income and lift themselves and their children out of poverty.
- Health: Child brides face higher risk of death and injury due to early sexual activity and childbearing. Girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s.
- Safety: Child brides are more likely to suffer domestic violence and sexual abuse.
- Inter-generational impact: When a mother is under 18, her baby is 60 per cent more likely to die in its first year of life than a baby born to a mother older than 19.
- Child marriage is a serious human rights violation that contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Rozaria Memorial Trust is an active members of the Global Partnership to End Child Marriage – Girls Not Brides. Girls Not Brides is a new global partnership to end the harmful traditional practice of child marriage, so that girls can fulfil their potential. Created by The Elders, Girls Not Brides brings together organisations that work to tackle child marriage at the grassroots, national and global levels around the world.