It blocks them from education and any possibility of independent work. It subjects them to pregnancy and childbirth before they have reached physical maturity, a circumstance that often produces serious physical trauma, psychological disturbance, and sometimes lifelong physical and/or emotional incapacities. Confusion about the legal status of child marriages results from widespread ignorance of the law by the majority of society. Even ministers were in many cases, unaware of the actual minimum ages for marriage.
In Afghanistan marriage is regulated by civil law, various interpretations of Shariah law, and traditional and customary practices.
Civil law sets the minimum marriage age for females at 16, but it permits a father to give his daughter in marriage at age 15, if he chooses. Shariah law sets the minimum age for females at 15. Customary practices approve marriage at earlier ages. In any case, Civil law takes precedence over both Shariah law and customary practice. (Shariah law is applied in matters not specifically set forth in the civil codes.
Although the non registration of the marriages and the absence of identification documents do not allow the collection of accurate data on the subject, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) consider the non respect of the minimum age requirement to be the major violation of the right to marry or not to marry. In addition, Afghanistan is bound to end child marriage through its ratification of certain internationalconventions including The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Based on annual report of AIHRC suicides, self immolations, murders, sexual perversions and psychological disorders are amongst the many negative consequences of child marriage. These also include the increase of maternal and child mortality rates, and the low level of education for women which has a long term effect on the role these play in the country’s political, social and economic life. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report, girls who marry during their childhood do not develop properly, neither physically nor psychologically.
They are frequently denied access to education and are subject to different types of diseases arising from abnormal births and isolation. Childhood marriages are common place and prevalent in Afghanistan. In this respect, the Afghan Constitution has clear provisions to support families and children. Based on the reports 57% of Afghan girls are forced to marry before the age of eighteen. Pregnancies of sixteen years old girls are relatively common in Afghanistan. Problem statement:
Child marriage is a serious problem, and there are frequent cases of young girls being married to the much older men. Many times, children and teenagers are pulled out of school to marry, depriving them of an education and meaningful work. Victims suffer health risks associated with early sexual activity, such as high risks of maternal and child mortality and sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS. They are also likely to be victims of domestic, sexual, and/or emotional abuse, and may suffer from social isolation.
Child marriages have negative and unexpected consequences like propagation of disease, divorce cases and escaping from home. While parent’s poverty and illiteracy may lead to their marrying daughters as child, these very marriages will prevent the daughters from having access to education and economic progress. Research Questions: 1. What are the Social, Economic and Political consequences of forced and early marriages in rural society? Objective The focus of this concept paper is to know reasons, causes and consequences of early childhood marriages in Afghanistan.
In addition this will seek on vulnerabilities which the girls face by forced and early marriages in rural areas and how it is linked with the rural society and contribute with the poverty, violence and isolation of the families. Research method: The Research will included literature review, reviews of existing files in hospitals and schools, interviews with hospital and school directors, interviews with Rural people (Target area), Government officials and NGOs. Forced Marriages in Afghanistan Afghanistan y Tahera Nassrat | on April 6th, 2010 | 9 comments Throughout the world, there are 49 countries that have forced marriage or child bride problems. Forced marriage is simply breach of basic human rights. It is a form of domestic violence and child abuse that contributes to a society’s problems. Afghanistan is one of the Islamic countries where people hold strongly tight to customs and traditions. Breaking the tradition of marrying young children, both boys and girls, is not only difficult, but near impossible in most urban districts.
In the rural areas of Afghanistan, girls are mostly married between ages of 7 to 11. It is really rare that a girl reaches the age of 16 and is not married. The customs, traditions and community they live in make it impossible for girls to break free from forced marriages. They do not get ask to speak for self desire. The fathers in the families mostly decide, as the mothers do not get involved in the decisions, because they are women. By marrying children in early ages, families are putting them in situations of isolation, health problems, abuse, suicide and lack of education.
They believe, they are doing best for their children and without their consents, they bond them into marriage contracts. However, they don’t consider that forced marriage affect women and young children adversely. It involves negative situations like threatening behavior, emotional blackmail, physical violence, rape, sexual abuse, suicide and even murder and young children are obviously not in the capacity to handle such pressure. According to a United Nations’ report, between 60 to 80 percent of marriages in Afghanistan are forced marriages.
The report states that the reason why girls are dragged into forced marriages are; repayment of debts; to solve a dispute and to pay family expenses. Moreover, It is obvious among Pashtons, that their widow will never marry someone out of their family, as they always marry the brother of their deceased husband. However in a non-Pashton family, the girl is asked to marry her brother-in-law to get support for the children of her sister. Even worse, some sisters are married to pay for the crime of their brothers by marrying the victims.
So, people in Afghanistan believe it is part of culture to marry a girl before age of 18th and not let her have a say, but they should consider that forcing a girl to marry cannot be regarded as cultural practice in any society. It is a violation of basic human rights. Therefore, women as part of society should be able to freely express their choices about their lifestyle desires. The video bellow is history of a 12 year girl who was forced into marriage. She ran away to break free from her in-laws, but unfortunately was arrested and in form of punishment by her husband (a Talib) she lost her nose and ear.
Child Marriage in Afghanistan October 2, 2011 by Aamozgar01 Filed under Cultural, Featured 5 Comments If the government of Afghanistan does not stop the practice of child marriage, most mothers will lose their children besides their own lives in Afghanistan as a result of under age marriage. Indeed, getting married under the age of eighteen or sixteen is not legal according to any law around world because it is internationally accepted that at least the couples should be sixteen.
Although according to the Afghan Civil Law the minimum age of marriage for male is 18 and female 16, according to reports of Medica Mondiale and UNICEF, 57 per cent of Afghan females are married under the age sixteen without their consent because of their parent’s financial problems. Moreover, Getting married under 16 sixteen will result several serious health problems for mothers that cause them not to develop properly, neither physically nor psychologically (Earily Marriage in Afghanistan).
For instance, a woman living in Qala-e-Bakhtiar of Kabul with her six children has said to Medica Mondial that she was only 15 when she was married against her will. She hates the noise of her children because of having psychological problems. (W. Mukhatari , pg 6). The marriage of children by force is against human rights. Children know nothing about their sexual relationship with their life partners, because they are still child and their parents should take care of them. Therefore, to save the Afghan female hildren from being exchanged for an amount of money to solve a family s financial problems, Afghanistan government should educate and campaign about consequences of child marriage, increase employment opportunities for parents, and enforce the law by making the marriage registration legal. In spite of understanding the childhood condition of children, most of the Afghan parents marry their daughters because financial problems they are facing. Poverty is a challenge, which changes the lives of children besides the culture of early child marriage.
According to the report by Millennium Development Goals for Afghanistan, the average income of per member of family is 200$ a year and less than one dollar a day. So, they are considered below the poverty line (Earily Marriage in Afghanistan). Thus, to get out of the financial crises the marriage of their daughters before their legal ages such 16 or 18 would be considered for some families the only option for the parents to protect their family honor, pay their debts and take a little amount of money in exchange for their.
First of all, one of the reasons of child marriage is to receive an exorbitant amount of money, which is called Toyana (wedding expenses) in Dari. The payment that parents receive from the groom family is not less than 300,000 Afs. and is not meant to be the wedding expenses, but the price of their child daughter. In a report about the child marriages in Afghanistan by the Women and Children Legal Research Foundation (WCLRF) shows that most of the interviewees have said that the only reason they were married in their childhoods was to receive Toyana from the groom’s family (Earily Marriage in Afghanistan).
Secondly, the other factor that makes the poor families marry their daughters under the age sixteen, often times in rural areas, is to exchange women for women which is called Badal. The practice of this type of marriage is very common among the afghan people. This kind of marriage saves a huge expense of both sides because of exchanging their child daughters from a family to another family to satisfy both sides. The wedding party of such kind of marriage is often celebrated at one time to avoid spending an large amount of money.
Indeed, it is the little young female who is devoted for her brother and is victimized for a little amount of money. Third, debt is another function that the females are exchanged for under the age sixteen in Afghanistan. When a family is unable to pay its debt within limited time that agreed, then the family is supposed to pay a huge amount that satisfy the lender, such as building, farming land, in some cases even a daughter otherwise the family is put in jail. So, the only remaining option for the family to protect its ancestors property would be to sacrifice a daughter as a form of repayment for debt.
It does not matter whether the child daughter is 9 or 18 years. As an explicit example, Shahs Family had to marry their 9 year old daughter Khalida two years ago. Shah had received almost 2000$ from a drug trader to grow opium in his land, but the government crop-eradication team destroyed his poppy field and put the Shah family in debt. So, he had to give his 9 years daughter to drug trader because nothing was left in his life. (Clifford) Forth, the traditional custom of Afghan people is victimizing the child females in most of the rural areas.
One of the reasons of child marriage in Afghanistan is Baad, which is a traditional way of having the child females to marry one of males from the family of enemy and forcing her to accept him as her husband in compensation for the crime that her father or brother has committed against the enemy family, and to stop the enmity between two families. For instance, Aisha, an Afghan female whose nose and ears were cut by her Al-Qaeda husband in Oruzgan province, was just 8 years old when she was given as a Baad to her husband family 10 years ago (Shaming her in-laws costs ).
Because her father had killed a member of her husband family, so he had to give his daughter to compensate his crime and to avoid being imprisoned or being killed by his enemy. Unfortunately, when the child female goes to her husband house in Baad marriage she is not going to her in-laws house as a bride but as a slave. Consequently, the child marriage has several negative impacts on the health of both, mothers and babies. The female children wh o are married under the age of 16 0r 18 would not be prepared for pregnancies and child birth.
A statistic of child marriage by Women and Children Legal Research Foundation (WCLRF) shows that 28. 7% mothers have physiological and psychological problems, 34. 1% have physically weak children, 8. 9% have handicapped and disabled children, 1. 6% have children with different types of diseases and disorders, and 40. 4% of these women have suffered from gynecological disease (Earily Marriage in Afghanistan). In addition, the child marriage would result to take the life of the mothers along with losing the babies. Most of the mothers who are dying at the age of 18-19 are because of their early regnancies, and the chance of survival for the babies would be forty per cent comparing to the mothers who married in their proper ages (Sadik). Furthermore, child marriage would result the child brides to be abused by their in-laws family. Most of the child females face various violations after they get married, such as no right to choose, no right to go somewhere without the permission of her husband . When the violation increase the child bride is going to be isolated from the families and relatives. Thus, the only options that remains for the child bride is to suicide or escape from home.
The interview of female prisoners by the Medica Mendials legal staff shows that 60% of prisoners were the escapees from husbands houses who were married under the age sixteen. Most of the prisoners have said that they were being abused or even being threaten to dead by their in-laws families (W. Mukhatari , pg 9) . To come out of the child marriage problem and save little young girls in Afghanistan, education and awareness of public are the main keys to prevent from child marriage. The government should provide community education programs to inform the public about negative consequences of child marriage.
Such programs can be implemented easily by Ministry of Women Affairs, which can easily teach the women of an area without any problem, or in other way, the government should pay the clergymen of mosques to advice the parents on their tribunes. These are the only sources that families can trust on. Moreover, the government should implement public awareness campaigns by international organizations and by holding Shoras and Jirgas with the elders of rural areas to talk about the negative impacts of child marriage (Earily Marriage in Afghanistan).
The government of Afghanistan should enforce the law to prevent child marriages. For instance, keeping the marriage registration regularly by the government agencies and receiving the evidence and acquiescence of both sides could be a possible way to reduce the child marriage. For example, in parts of Indonesia, registration of marriage is dependent on evidence that the marriage is not forced on couples (Sadik). The parents who marry their daughters in their childhood under the age 16 should punished and persecuted seriously by the government as governments of Norway and Kyrgyzstan did.
They both have set the minimum age of the girls 17 and the punishment of those who marry the females earlier than the age 17 would be jailed for 2 to 6 years. Weak Economy is another factor, which causes most child marriages in Afghanistan. The government should try to develop the economic situation in rural areas where women have cannot earn money for themselves. For example, the project of Micro finance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan, which is donated by the World Bank and is implemented by the Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry, should be accessible for all women the Afghanistan.
In fact, lending a little amount of money to women can be the start of their business to provide their own necessities. For example Saima Mohammad who was about to be divorced by her husband because of having only a daughter and no son. Her husband had borrowed 3,000$, and he was not able to pay it back. So, Saima went to Pakistani micro finance organization called Kashf Foundation, took out only 65$ as loan and bought her 65$ bead and clothes to make embroidery from them and sell them to market in Lahor.
She has everything now, and even her husband is working with her (Knistaff). The government should be serious in taking important steps against child marriages in Afghanistan, because child marriage is dangerous for the health of both, mothers and their babies. People should be informed; the parents who force their child daughters to marry and those who marry females under the age sixteen should be punished. Most importantly, the economic situation of people should be developed to prevent them to not marry their children under the age sixteen in exchange for an amount of money.
So, the Afghan government needs to increase peoples’ awareness about the outcome of early marriage, make employment opportunities and persecute those who marry their children before the age sixteen. Written by: Zabiullah Zabi http://www. aamozgar. org/child-marriage-in-afghanistan/ Forced and Child Marriage Forced and child marriages entrap women and young girls in relationships that deprive them of their basic human rights. Forced marriage constitutes a human rights violation in and of itself.
Article One of the Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages states that “No marriage shall be legally entered into without the full and free consent of both parties, such consent to be expressed by them in person after due publicity and in the presence of the authority competent to solemnize the marriage and of witnesses, as prescribed by law. ” The Marriage Convention addresses the issue of age. According to Article 2 of the Convention, “States Parties to the present Convention shall take legislative action to specify a minimum age for marriage.
No marriage shall be legally entered into by any person under this age, except where a competent authority has granted a dispensation as to age, for serious reasons, in the interest of the intending spouses. ” Under General Assembly Resolution 2018 (XX) of 1 November 1965, “Recommendation on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages,” Principle II states that the minimum age to marry be set no lower than fifteen years. However, this is only a recommendation and it still allows room for a competent authority to grant “dispensation as to age for serious reasons. Leaving the minimum age of consent to the discretion of each country and allowing an authority to make exceptions to the minimum age of marriage aggravates the potential for early and forced marriages. Forced marriages differ from arranged marriages. In forced marriages, one or both of the partners cannot give free or valid consent to the marriage. Forced marriages involve varying degrees of force, coercion or deception, ranging from emotional pressure by family or community members to abduction and imprisonment.
Emotional pressure from a victim’s family includes repeatedly telling the victim that the family’s social standing and reputation are at stake, as well as isolating the victim or refusing to speak to her. In more severe cases, the victim can be subject to physical or sexual abuse, including rape. In arranged marriages, the parents and families play a leading role in arranging the marriage, but the individuals getting married can nonetheless chose whether to marry or not.
Many regard arranged marriage as a well-established cultural tradition that flourishes in many communities, so a clear distinction should be drawn between forced and arranged marriages. However, in some cases the difference between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage may be purely semantic. In her January 2007 report, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Aspects of the Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children,” Sigma Huda states that, “[a] marriage imposed on a woman not by explicit force, but by subjecting her to relentless pressure and/or manipulation, ften by telling her that her refusal of a suitor will harm her family’s standing in the community, can also be understood as forced. ” Prevalence Forced and child marriage mainly affects young women and girls, although there are cases of young men and boys being forced to marry—especially if there are concerns about his sexual orientation. Reliable statistics on forced marriage are difficult to compile due to the unofficial and, therefore, undocumented nature of most forced marriages.
In 2003, the International Centre for Research on Women estimated that more than 51 million girls under 18 years were married and they expected the figure to rise to over 100 million within the next ten years. Similarly, in 2006, experts estimated that thirty-eight percent of young women aged 20 to 24 in the fifty least developed countries were married before the age of 18. >>Learn more Causes and Risk Factors No major world religion sanctions forced marriage. It is purely a cultural practice. However, no culture exclusively practices forced marriage.
Victims are forced into marriage for many different reasons. In the United Kingdom, the Working Group on Forced Marriage found that most cases were a result of “loving manipulation, where parents genuinely felt that they were acting in their children and family’s best interests. ” To families living in poverty or economic instability, a daughter may be seen as an “economic burden” who must be married as soon as possible to take financial strain off of the family. Marriage can also be used to settle a debt, or to strengthen family or caste status through social alliances.
Fears about sexual activity before marriage, or fear of rumors about such activity ruining a daughter’s opportunity to marry well, also fuel early and forced marriages. >> Learn more Consequences and Effects Forced and child marriages have severe psychological, emotional, medical, financial, and legal consequences. Victims tend to be isolated from their peers and friends. They rarely have access to social services that could assist them. Early marriages often interrupt a victim’s education.
This deprives them of their right to education, as well as limits any possibility of economic independence from their spouse, making it more difficult to escape from an unwanted marriage. The unofficial nature of many of these marriages means that they often go unregistered, leaving a woman with no legal protections in cases of separation. Forced and child marriages are also more likely to become violent because the relationship is based on the power of one spouse over the other. In addition, complications during childbirth are much more common among young mothers. >>Learn more International and Domestic Law and Policies
Numerous international legal instruments prohibit forced and child marriage, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Although most countries have signed onto these documents, many countries have not taken sufficient steps to implement these treaties. In 2005, the Council of Europe adopted Resolution 1468 on forced marriages and child marriages. However, only a few countries have criminalized forced marriage.