• Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:08 am

ED: A disturbing downslide

  • Published at 12:13 am September 30th, 2021
Child Marriage
REUTERS

The re-opening of schools should now help with tackling the rise in child marriage

Child marriage remains one of the most egregious practices in our country, and it is unfortunate that, despite our progress in multiple sectors, we continue to lag behind in this regard. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the existing problems, as poverty and increased closures of schools have been the major reasons why child marriage, already a significant challenge for the country, has further skyrocketed, threatening to rob countless children of a childhood and education. 

In just one upazila in Faridpur district for example, as many as 400 girls have been forced into child marriage during the coronavirus pandemic, with most of them students from class 6 to 10. If this is the reported number from just one upazila, who knows how many thousands of children have been married off during the past 18 months or so. 

The re-opening of schools should now help with tackling the rise in child marriage, but there remain plenty to do for us to even begin to tackle this pervasive problem. First of all, the marriage registrars, who by law cannot register a child marriage, must be brought to book, for they are bending the law in order to register these marriages. 

In addition, there must be more awareness created amongst the rural population, and this responsibility falls on the authorities concerned -- to educate such families who often cannot comprehend why it is wrong to marry off a girl so young. 

Beyond being a serious violation of human rights, and depriving young girls of a full childhood and education -- both of which are non-negotiable -- child marriage holds back our development as a nation and society, and it is high time we do everything in our power to put an end to this.

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