“EU Must Do More to Prevent Child Marriage” Madi Sharma, The Parliament Magazine, 29 September 2015

“Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of their education, health and long-term prospects. The EU needs to make this issue a priority of its development agenda.”

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has predicted that more than 140 million girls will become child brides by 2020 and 50 million of them will be under the age of 15. In addition, UNICEF has projected that 14.2 million girls annually will marry under under the age of 18. Accordingly, “child marriage is a humanitarian urgency, it should be higher on our list of priorities.” It is indeed a violation of human rights since it keeps them isolated from education, health, and long-term prospects so that their potential is ignored. Yet it happens under the gaze of society, religion and poverty. Furthermore, girls who are married become more vulnerable to violence and sexual abuse, in addition to complications of pregnancy and childbirth. In Afghanistan, the practice was banned in 2009, but the effectiveness of these measures seems to be scarce since 53% of girls are still being married before the age of 18. Besides, the restoration of the Taliban has brought back a dramatic situation for young girls in Afghanistan. According to a recent survey, one Afghan woman dies every two hours because of pregnancy. In addition, children born of child marriages have a higher risk of suffering health problems and even death. On the other side, we find Nepal as one of the countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world. It is more common in rural areas and the marriage rates before 15 years old can reach an 83% in certain ethnic groups. For all these reasons, the EU needs to provide incentives for countries to ban child marriages and protect these young girls from exploitation. In order to fight for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, it is necessary to provide education, psychological support, and shelters. As a result, “the EU needs to make this issue a priority of its development agenda.”

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“EU Must Do More to Prevent Child Marriage” Madi Sharma, The Parliament Magazine, 29 September 2015

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