The Human Impact

Swift action needed in fight against child marriage – UNFPA report

Despite gains in some countries, more than 14 million girls under age 18 will be married each year over the next 10 years, a figure expected to increase to more than 15 million girls a year between 2021 and 2030, according to a new report from the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) released on Thursday.

As the number of girls who are married as children grows, the number of children bearing children will increase, and deaths among girls will rise, said the report, timed to mark the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child.

International conventions declare that child marriage is a violation of fundamental human rights because it denies girls the right to choose when and with whom to marry.

The negative implications are far-reaching for girls, often leading to their early departure from school, economic dependency and difficulty finding a vocation or work outside the home. The practice can also perpetuate cyclical poverty and increase susceptibility to such sexually transmitted diseases as HIV/AIDS.

“In those communities where the practice of child marriage remains common, families can feel it’s not worth investing at all in the education of their daughters,” said Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA’s executive director who last month launched a global campaign urging countries to invest in the education of women and young people.

UK MPs investigate child marriage

By Maria Caspani

LONDON (TrustLaw) – An unknown number of girls in Britain are married before the age of 18 each year, with many sent to their family’s country of origin to get married over the summer break, according to the chair of a parliamentary inquiry on child marriage.

Last week in London, the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health held an inquiry into child marriage to collect evidence and advance action to stamp out this widespread practice.

Early marriage often condemns children to lives of poverty, ignorance and poor health, and is a major obstacle to development, rights groups say.

Undernourished and anaemic – the plight of India’s teen girls

The U.N.’s latest report on the state of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescents gives food for thought, especially on the plight of India’s girls aged between 10 and 19.

The report explores a range of issues affecting teenagers around the globe, from nutrition and health to sexual behaviour, knowledge on HIV/AIDS, attitudes towards gender violence and access to education.

Data from surveys of adolescent girls in India, and South Asia in general, are once again a reality check – which we shouldn’t need but unfortunately still do.

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