Child marriage prevalent in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa – Unicef research

Child marriage can never be justified
Child marriage can never be justified. It denies children their childhood and robs them of their full potential (UNICEF Malaysia)


The Unicef said in a statement, “Marriage before the age of 18 is a fundamental violation of human rights. Many factors interact to place a child at risk of marriage, including poverty, the perception that marriage will provide ‘protection’, family honor, social norms, customary or religious laws that condone the practice, an inadequate legislative framework and the state of a country’s civil registration system. While the practice is more common among girls than boys, it is a violation of rights regardless of sex”

Yet, the latest estimate brings the total number of child brides and grooms worldwide to 765 million.

One in five young women were married before their 18th birthday.

An estimated 115 million boys worldwide were married as children, Unicef research has found, reported the Independent.

Unicef analysed data from 82 countries and found child marriage among boys was prevalent in a range of countries around the world, including those in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific.

Child marriage among males is more common in Central African Republic (28 per cent), followed by Nicaragua (19 per cent) and Madagascar(13 per cent).

Early marriage brings early fatherhood, and with it added pressure to provide for a family, cutting short education and job opportunities, Henrietta Fore, Unicef’s executive director said.

“Marriage steals childhood.

“Child grooms are forced to take on adult responsibilities for which they may not be ready,” he said. 

The research also found that most of the children at risk of child marriage come from the poorest households, live in rural areas and have little to no education.

“As we mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we need to remember that marrying boys and girls off while they are still children runs counter to the rights enshrined in the Convention,” said Fore. 

“Through further research, investment and empowerment, we can end this violation,” he added.

Graduate with a Master of Mass Communication. 10 years working experience in the media and broadcasting.

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