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11 October, 2015 00:00 00 AM
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Report rings alarm bells over child marriage

International Day of Girl Child today
Staff Reporter

A latest report by CARE International, a major international humanitarian agency, has sounded alarm bells over child marriages in the country.
According to the report, girls in 26 countries are more likely to be married off before they are 18 years instead of being enrolled in secondary school. Bangladesh is one of these 26 countries, the report said.
The “alarming” report comes at a time when the International Day of Girl Child will be celebrated on October 11 across the world.
Ironically, Bangladesh is listed among these countries even though under the country's existing child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, the minimum age for a girl’s marriage is 18.
The CARE report observed that some of the underlying causes of child marriage, such as poverty and gender discrimination, apply to all the countries. Other causes are more localised, like trafficking of girls in Mauritania, dowry considerations in Bangladesh or conflicts in Afghanistan and Mali, CARE said.
According to the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2011, around 66 per cent of all Bangladeshi girls are married before reaching adulthood.
Despite many significant improvements in women’s rights and children’s health in recent years, Bangladesh still ranks among the countries with the highest rates of child marriage and has the highest prevalence of child marriage in South Asia.
Farukh Ahmed, project director of Stop Child Marriage at Plan International Bangladesh, said that lack of education is the reason for rampant child marriages, which is also true the other way round.
Social practices like protecting girls’ ‘honour’ and fears of having to pay hefty dowry to the groom if the girl reaches 15 years of age also drive parents to marry off their daughters early, Farukh explained.
An inevitable fallout of child marriage is adolescent motherhood, which has serious health consequences for both the child and the mother, he added.
The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in June calling for an end to early and forced child marriage, and recognising child marriage as a violation of human rights.
Ending child marriage by 2030 was one of the targets listed in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders at a UN summit in September.
On the occasion of this year’s World Girl Child Day, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA executive director, said: “We must take action when some 70 million young women aged between 20 and 24 in developing countries are married before the age of 18. Early, forced and child marriages deprive girls of their autonomy, their education and their health. It takes away their hopes and shatters their dreams.”

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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