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UNICEF Reveals Child Marriages are Still at Large

Updated: Jun 14, 2019

A recent study reveals that the number of child marriages all over the world has still not decreased. This study focused more on young grooms. The Sub-Saharan region being the place with maximum child marriages. The ratio of young grooms and brides varies from region to region; where young brides are common in South-Asian countries while more young grooms appear to be Sub-Saharan countries.

Child Marriage: A Violation of Human Rights

Marriage and Cohabitation is termed as violation of human rights by UNICEF. Cohabitation where a couple lives under the same roof as if married, raises concerns as much as marriage. Universal Declaration of Human Rights says the right to ‘free and full’ consent for marriage, where consent cannot be ‘free and full’ is one of the parties is not mature enough to make a decision.

Child marriage strips children of their childhood. It shortens their childhood by handing them responsibilities of married adults. The effect is different on males and females due to biological and social differences.

The Effect of Early Adulthood on Children

For females, it gives them adult responsibilities which they might not be ready for at their ripe age. Biologically their body goes through developments that are hindered because of the physical relationship with their spouse. The extra responsibility of a household and satisfying her husband’s physical needs takes a toll on a young bride’s mental health as well.

For males the effect is not same as females but is still harmful. Child marriage gives them early adulthood and economic pressures. It might become a reason for boys to discontinue their education and forfeit the opportunity to have a desired career.

The Statistics

UNICEF reveals that one out of five boys is married under the age of 15, which is quite alarming. Statistics show Central African Republic has the greatest number of boys married under the age of 15 with 28 percent of young grooms among the boys. Nicaragua follows Central African Republic with 20 percent of underage grooms, proceeded by Madagascar with 13 percent. Studies show that 150 million males were married before the age of 18, out of which 23 million were married under the age of 15.

The condition of young brides is not as bad as young grooms. Data analytics show Western and Central Africa with the maximum number of rides under the age of 18. Even after the continuous efforts, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. India itself has 14.1 percent of girls married from the ages of 15-18.

Cases of child marriage has reduced 3 percent globally. Sub-Sahara and South-Asia having the maximum number of child marriages. Meanwhile Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia show the least number of child marriages.

The Progress

Save the Children’s Childhood report finds out that the conditions for children has improved from 173 to 176 countries since 2000. This report was published a little before International Children’s Day on June 1. The data says that there are

· 4.4 million less child deaths per year

· 4.9 million less stunted children

· 130 million more children in school

· 94 million less child labourers

· 11 million less girls forced to marry at a young age

· 3 million less teen births per year

· 12,000 less child homicides per year

Conclusion

The condition of child marriage is not the best around the world, but it is slowly becoming better. A shocking number of grooms under the age of 15 was revealed by the report by UNICEF. The condition is becoming better, with constant efforts of UNICEF and governments of countries where child marriage is practiced.

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