Child Marriage: Declines globally, not in Bangladesh
12:00 AM, March 07, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:55 AM, March 07, 2018

Child Marriage: Declines globally, not in Bangladesh

Says Unicef report

Child marriages still remain high in Bangladesh, although the rate is globally declining, with the largest drop in South Asia, according to the Unicef.

The rate of child marriage in Bangladesh is 59 percent, the fourth highest in the world, reports CNN.

Niger has the highest child marriage rate (76 percent), followed by Central African Republic and Chad. 

In 2011, Bangladesh had a child marriage rate of 52 percent, Bangla daily Prothom Alo reported citing government statistics.

Ten years ago, a South Asian girl's risk of getting married as a child was about 50 percent, but now that has fallen to about 30 percent, the Unicef said in a release yesterday.

The Unicef attributed the progress in India to increasing rates of girls' education, government investments and public messaging around the illegality of child marriage.

"Any reduction is welcome news, but we've got a long way to go," said Anju Malhotra, UNICEF's principal gender adviser.

Even with the declines, 12 million girls are married in childhood every year, according to the Unicef.

Globally, one in five women are married before they turn 18 years old. A decade ago, the rate had been one in four, it said.

"While South Asia has led the way on reducing child marriage over the last decade, the global burden of child marriage is shifting to sub-Saharan Africa," it added.

One in three recently married child brides are now in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to one in five a decade ago.

Poverty, ideas of family honor, social norms, customs and religious laws are factors that could force girls into child marriages.

But the consequences can be devastating. Marriages can rob girls of their childhood, compromise their development and put them at risk of early and complicated pregnancies. They often pay a heavy price in not getting an education or access to proper health care and economic opportunities.

Child marriages also occur in the US, and remains legal in every state because of a hodgepodge of exceptions that let minors get married with parental consent or judicial approval.

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