Efforts to end child marriage could be thwarted by Bangladeshi parliament
BANGLADESH will be taking a step backwards in efforts to end child marriage if parliament approves changes to a law which would permit girls below 18 to be married in “special cases”, a global alliance of charities said.
Bangladesh has the highest rates of child marriages in the worldThe poor South Asian nation has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, despite a three-decade-old law which bans marriage for girls under 18 and men under 21.
Girls Not Brides, a coalition of more than 650 charities, said Bangladesh’s parliament was expected to consider the proposed change to the Child Marriage Restraint Act. This is expected to take place in the next session beginning January 22.
Girls Not Brides in Bangladesh said the proposed change was “alarming” and a step backwards for the country which has reduced child marriage in recent years.
“We have worked with thousands of girls who have been pulled out of education, married off early, bear the scars of early pregnancy, and forced to marry their abusers. This is simply unacceptable,” said a spokesman from the alliance’s Bangladesh chapter in a statement.
The proposed law was open to abuse since it gave no definition of the term “special cases”, Girls Not Brides said.