Afghanistan: United Nations Marks International Day of the Girl Child with Focus on Forced and Early Marriage
Friday, October 12, 2012 9:55 AM

October 11th is the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child. It is a day to “help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential”. To mark the day, UN special representative Jan Kubis presented the situation in Afghanistan, where a marriage before the age of 18 is a reality for many girls. "Early marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights and impacts all aspects of a girl's life," a group of United Nations organizations said in a statement released that day.
According to the UN organizations and the Afghani mission, early marriage is closely related to maternal mortality, because child brides aren’t physically or psychologically ready to give birth. Almost half of the girls in Afghanistan marry as child brides, quite often before they turn 15. Because of this, Afghanistan’s maternal mortality rate is one of the worst in the world (327 per 100,000 live births). "Girls aged 10-14 are five times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than women aged 20-24," according to the UN statement.
Special Representative Kubis urged Afghanistan to take action and protect children's rights, especially in rural areas, through education and other measures in accordance with the national and international law.
Compiled from: Afghan child brides under UN spotlight, AFP (Oct 11, 2012).