UN Vows to end child marriage
UNICEF and UNFPA announce joint, multi-country initiative to end early, forced marriage
NEW YORK — As the world celebrated International Women’s Day yesterday, the United Nations (UN) announced a joint, multi-country UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UN Population Fund (UNFPA) initiative to protect adolescent girls from being forced into child marriages.
“The world has awakened to the damage child marriage causes to individual girls, to their future children and to their societies,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director. “This new global program will help drive action to reach the girls at greatest risk — and help more girls and young women realize their right to dictate their own destinies…. If current trends continue, the number of girls and women married as children will reach nearly one billion by 2030 — one billion childhoods lost, one billion futures blighted.”
This initiative is part of a global effort aimed at helping girls in 12 countries throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East where child marriage is prevalent. This cultural practice is violating rights, opening young girls to being taken out of school, suffering domestic violence, contracting HIV/AIDS and dying due to complications from pregnancy.
The UNICEF/UNFPA plan aims to eliminate child marriage by 2030 through improved access to education, health care, economic support and the strengthening of laws.