Giving Compass’ Take:
• Emeline Wuilbercq describes the dangers of increased child marriage during coronavirus and why we need increased efforts to stop it.
• Where are girls most at risk? What are you doing to reduce child marriage during coronavirus?
More than 500 girls have been rescued from child marriage in northern Ethiopia since schools were shut due to the new coronavirus, a regional official said, as fears mount that the pandemic is reversing years of work to stop underage unions.
Ethiopia closed its schools in mid-March, sending 26 million children home, where girls face a greater risk of being illegally forced into marriage under the age of 18, which some human rights activists regard as a form of slavery.
“The number is rising,” said Asnaku Deres, head of the bureau of women, children, and youth affairs in the northern region of Amhara, adding that local authorities have stopped 540 child marriages in the last two months.
“We received the tips before the wedding preparation is undertaken and were able to intervene and stop it from happening … Had not the tips come to us, these girls would have been married off,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The United Nations predicts there could be an extra 13 million child marriages by 2030 as COVID-19 hits household incomes and stymies global efforts to end the practice.
“We are concerned that some of the gains that were being made for children over the past two decades by Ethiopia are going to be reversed or not sustained anymore as a result of this big crisis,” she said.
Campaign group Girls Not Brides says child marriage deprives girls of education and opportunities, jeopardizes their health, and increases the risks of exploitation, sexual violence, domestic abuse, and death during childbirth.
Read the full article about child marriage during coronavirus by Emeline Wuilbercq at Global Citizen.
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