Delegate Name: Abbie Wong
Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy
Child marriage has decreased worldwide in recent years, but the practice of child marriage is still widespread. Multiple laws and programs have been launched in order to fight child marriage. In 2016 UNICEF along with UNFPA launched the Global Programme to End Child Marriage. The programme reached more than 12 million adolescent girls. Currently due to the pandemic numbers have been on the rise, poor families without jobs are scrambling to have their daughters married for financial reasons. These families that turn to marriage as a means of financial support are directly exploiting their daughters. Girls that get married off at a young age are more likely to experience domestic violence, dangerous pregnancy, and stop receiving an education.
An estimated 1.5 million underage girls in India are getting married each year. In 1978 the Child Marriage Restraint Act was amended, where the legal age of marriage of girls was changed from 15 to 18 years and of boys from 18 to 21 years. The Indian Government appointed persons that are responsible for ensuring that the act is implemented, Child Marriage Prohibition Officers (CMPO) are appiointed in every state to prohobiit child marriages, ensure the protection of the victims, and prosecute the offenders. Support like medical aid, legal aid, counselling and rehabilitation support are provided to all children born from child marriages and makes provisions for their custody and maintenance, also provided residence and maintenance of the female contracting party.
Setting up centers where girls can get education would be beneficial, with an education they could get jobs and support their family that way instead of the “only” option being to get married. Having more CMPO would also be beneficial, since having laws in place doesn’t stop 100 percent of underage marriages. Having people like officers that are able to interfere on site to stop marriages is helpful.
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Pathak, Sushmita, and Lauren Frayer. “Child Marriages Are up in the Pandemic. Here’s How India Tries to Stop Them.” NPR, NPR, 5 Nov. 2020, https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/11/05/931274119/child-marriages-are-up-in-the-pandemic-heres-how-india-tries-to-stop-them.
“The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.” IndiaFilings, 12 Dec. 2018, https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/prohibition-of-child-marriage-act/.
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