Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

The Consequence and Solution for Child Marriage

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The Consequence and Solution  for Child Marriage

Marriage has certain rules and regulations in Islam and other Abrahamic religions for establishing a sound community and cherishing sound generation. Getting marriage will not achieve its holy objective if it not based on mutual satisfaction and willing. Both life-partners have to be matured physically and mentally, which is highly underlined by Islam, so that they would be able to decide about their marriage. According to Islamic tenet, under-aged marriage or forming a matrimonial life without mutual satisfaction and understanding will be of no value.
Under-aged and forced marriages, however, are rife in Afghanistan which have led to social and moral challenges. Such kinds of marriage are void of individuals’ willing and volition. To campaign against this fact, the National Unity Government (NUG) has approved a five-year strategy.
National Program for Campaigning against Under-aged Marriages
The NUG, along with national and international supports, has approved national agenda for campaigning against under-aged and forced marriages with the aim of putting an end to such kinds of marriages within five years (2017 – 2021). The ministries of Women Affairs and Information and Culture, supported by United Nation’s Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and Embassy of Canada and other national and international organizations, have planned this program.
The National Program for Campaigning against Under-aged Marriage will form committee in provinces to operate in this regard and spread public awareness. Similarly, to catalyze this plan and eradicate under-aged marriages, this organization will work systematically through: empowering women, training job professions, giving awareness to parents and citizens regarding marriage, promoting teaching quality in girls’ schools, and strengthening legal frames.
Although there is not a certain statistic, it is said that the graph of forced and under-aged marriages will reach 57 per cent. The age for marriage is approved 16 for females and 18 for males in Afghanistan’s Civil Law.
It is worth mentioning that forced and under-aged marriages are not rife only in Afghanistan, but it has been changed into a global challenge.
Reason behind Under-aged Marriages:
There are several reasons behind forced and under-aged marriages which are stated as blow:
(1) Poverty: misery and financial constraints have led to forced marriages across the country. For instance, a number of poor families forced their small daughters, who were not ready physically for matrimonial life, to get married so that they could find a morsel of bread or survive hunger. Similarly, they have made their daughters, perhaps they were mature physically, get married without the men of their choice.   
(2) Lack of knowledge within families: a large number of families, mainly those who live in remote areas, are not aware of the social aspects of under-aged marriage. In addition, they are not aware of women’s rights from religious and legal perspective.
(3) Violence: public violence and armed conflicts led to baad (a tribal tradition in Afghanistan that give a daughter to victim’s family to reciprocate a man’s crime) in many cases and small girls fall victims in this respect.
(4) Patriarchal system: patriarchy, traditional cultures and inappropriate outlook regarding women have resulted in violation of their rights vis-à-vis marriage.  
Consequence of Forced and Under-aged Marriages:
The forced and under-aged marriages will lead to: relentless violence against women, disturbing individual and family peace, stoking social brawl, suicide, murder, escape, damaging social norm, violation of moral norms, etc. The worst aspect of forced marriage is violating religious and Islamic values. Similarly, such kinds of marriage will increase mothers’ fatalities, catalyze imperfect birth, and harming one’s emotions.
Ways to Prevent Under-aged Marriages:
It is believed that the government’s national plans for eliminating under-aged marriages will not be an effective remedy for this issue. The nation, too, will have to fulfill their human and religious responsibilities in the best possible way. For instance, the clergy and Ulema Council are supposed to spread awareness over women’s rights. Moreover, families are to be given awareness and social institutions are to be supported for campaigning against child’s marriages. Meanwhile, the media should spread awareness in this regard, and the officials should implement the law and prosecute the violators of law. These factors are believed to support the national programs for eliminating child’s marriages.
However, it is worth mentioning that under-aged marriage is deemed as violence against women as a statistics by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) suggests that the number of women who got married in early ages will be around 700 million. It adds that this number will reach to 950 million people in 2030.

It goes without saying that under-aged marriage has not taken place overnight. According to researchers, it has a long history about 2000 years.

Zia Danish is the permanent writer of the Daily Afghanistan Ma. He can be reached at thedailyafghanistan@yahoo.com

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