Saturday, September 24, 2011

Child Brides - Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the Islamic countries where people hold strongly tight to customs and traditions. Breaking the tradition of marrying young children, both boys and girls, is not only difficult, but near impossible in most urban districts.

According to a United Nations’ report, between 60 to 80 percent of marriages in Afghanistan are forced marriages. The report states that the reasons why girls are dragged into forced marriages include repayment of debts, to solve a dispute and to pay family expenses.

Young and scared with no hope of the future
In the rural areas of Afghanistan, girls are mostly married between ages of 7 to 11. It is really rare that a girl reaches the age of 16 and is not married. The customs, traditions and community they live in make it impossible for girls to break free from forced marriages. They do not get ask to speak for self-desire. The fathers in the families mostly decide, as the mothers do not get involved in the decisions, because they are women.

Little bride

In Afghan villages, it's considered dishonorable for families for daughters to meet and date boys. Some parents try to marry their daughters as soon as possible to avoid such a prospect. A lack of security during more than three decades of war, and the risk of kidnapping and rape, has also prompted many families to force their young daughters into marriage. And widespread poverty still compels many parents to get their daughters married to avoid the cost of caring for them.

The Afghan government has taken some steps to tackle the problem. The country has recently changed the legal age for marriage for girls from 16 to 17. Men who want to marry girls under 17 are not entitled to obtain a marriage certificate, although rights activists say many men simply do not bother with officially registering their marriages.

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