Published 12 November 2021
The United Nations Children’s Fund on Friday bemoaned the rise of child marriage in Afghanistan, stating that girls are at a risk.
UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, in a recent statement, mentioned that the Agency have received report that families offer 20-day-old daughters for future marriage in exchange for dowry.
She said, “I am deeply concerned by reports that child marriage in Afghanistan is on the rise.
“We have received credible reports of families offering daughters as young as 20 days old up for future marriage in return for a dowry.
“Even before the latest political instability, UNICEF’s partners registered 183 child marriages and 10 cases of selling of children over 2018 and 2019 in Herat and Baghdis provinces alone. The children were between 6 months and 17 years of age.”
The statement, titled, ‘Girls increasingly at risk of child marriage in Afghanistan’, Fore stated that the issue of poverty is also a contributing factor to early marriage.
“The extremely dire economic situation in Afghanistan is pushing more families deeper into poverty and forcing them to make desperate choices, such as putting children to work and marrying girls off at a young age.
Fore also mentioned that UNICEF is working with partners to raise communities’ awareness of the risks for girls if they are married early.
The agency has also started offering monetary assistance to vulnerable families, as a way of fighting against child marriage.
“We have started a cash assistance programme to help offset the risk of hunger, child labour and child marriage among the most vulnerable families. We plan to scale up this and other social services programmes in the months to come, said Fore.
She added, “We call on central, provincial and local authorities to take concrete measures to support and safeguard the most vulnerable families and girls.”
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