Child marriage is the practice where children, often without their consent, are married, either to otherchildren or to adults. This problem particularly affects girls, who can be married to strangers by their ownparents and do not have the right to refuse. Child marriage is a serious problem, and there are frequentcases of young girls being married to much older men.Child marriage is particularly present in conservative or deeply traditional societies, where religion andculture are seen to be more important than national or international laws.
Sometimes money isexchanged in return for a marriage, and families can be forced into sellingtheir children to feed, clothe, and educate the other family members. Childmarriage most often affects girls, and so it is typically seen as a global
.Children who are married at an early age:
Often die of sexually transmitted diseases or health complicationsassociated with pregnancy,
Do not receive proper education,
Frequently are victims of domestic violence and abuse,
And remain trapped in a cycle of poverty and ignorance.
All nations have laws which set a minimum age for marriage, but these laws have little meaning inundeveloped or remote regions where tradition is deeply engrained into the local culture. Brides are oftenencouraged to produce large families
without money or options for retirement parents have to rely ontheir children to look after them in their old age. Without any education, girls do not know what birthcontrol options are available to them either. Conservative religious authorities sometimes encourage childmarriage and preach against the use of birth control.
Child marriage occurs in places where the infant mortality rate is high, where there are conflicts, andwhere this is little or no development for education and healthcare.
Importantly, nations like SouthKorea and Thailand have managed to eliminate child marriage by increasing education for girls,developing their economies, and improving healthcare to decrease infant mortality rates.
PAST INTERNATIONAL ACTIONS
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a fundamental treaty of the UN which guarantees certainliberties to all people. The Declaration expressly forbids that no person may be forced to marry withoutconsent.
A young child bride in India
Source: Wikimedia Commons