Child Marriage Kills Over 60 Girls Daily – Report

A human right organisation, Save the Children International, has said that child marriage kills over 60 girls daily.

The organisation quoting a report said it had been estimated that 44 per cent of girls in Nigeria get married before their 18th birthday, one of the highest rate of child marriage globally.

The organisation said these in a statement issued on Monday night and signed by its Chief Executive, Inger Ashing, in commemoration of the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child.

The statement reads, “Rates are not likely to decrease today as Nigerian girls are living in one of the most difficult times.

“As a result of armed conflict, humanitarian crisis, kidnapping, natural disaster, displacement, COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession, the lives of millions of girls are threatened to be pushed into the basket of deprivation, including reduced access to education, nutrition, lack of protection and lack of access to basic social services, the State of Nigerian Girls Report showed.

“More than an estimated 22,000 girls die per year from pregnancy and childbirth resulting from child marriage, new analysis from Save the Children released on International Day of the Girl reveals.

“With the highest rate of child marriage in the world, West and Central Africa accounts for nearly half (9,600) of all estimated child marriage-related deaths globally, or 26 deaths a day.

“The regional teenage maternal mortality rate is four times higher than anywhere else in the world.

“South Asia sees 2,000 child marriage-related deaths every year (or six every day), followed by East Asia and the Pacific with 650 deaths (or two every day), and Latin American and the Caribbean, with 560 annual deaths (or nearly two a day).

“Although nearly 80 million child marriages globally have been prevented in the last 25 years, progress had stalled even before the COVID-19 pandemic—which has only worsened inequalities that drive child marriage.

“With school closures, health services under strain or closed, and more families being pushed into poverty, women and girls face an increased risk of violence during lengthy lockdowns. A further 10 million girls are now expected to marry by 2030,leaving more girls at risk of dying.

“Child marriage is one of the worst and deadliest forms of sexual and gender-based violence against girls. Every year, millions are forced into wedlock with men who are often much older, robbing them of an opportunity to keep learning, be children, and in many cases, to survive.

“Childbirth is the number one killer of teenaged girls because their young bodies aren’t ready to bear children. The health risks of children having children cannot, and must not, be ignored.”

The organisation in its ‘Global Girlhood Report 2021: Girls’ rights in crisis’, released on Monday, the organisation is calling on governments to “raise girls’ voices by supporting their right to safe and meaningful participation in all public decision-making.”

“Governments must prioritise girls and ensure they’re protected from child marriage and premature childbirth-related deaths. This can only happen if girls have a say in the decisions that affect them,” it said.

-Punch

About Delia Innoma

Delia Innoma is a prolific writer, promoter, artist manager with full professional proficiency in English, German and Igbo languages. She studied accounting and computer programming at the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu and Germany respectively. Delia is also a devoted mother of two and she founded the Diamond Celebrities Magazine. Her sense of responsibility and commitment to the Christian faith are essential forces driving her daily activities.

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