Commonwealth Of Nations Must Develop Plan To End Child Marriage

“Child marriage is a devastating human rights violation that has robbed, and continues to rob, millions of girls of their childhood,” as the practice “forces them out of education and into a life of poor prospects, with increased risk of violence, abuse, ill health or an early death in childbirth,” Nazma Kabir, director of programs at Plan U.K., writes in The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network Adolescent Girls Hub” blog. “One girl in three in the developing world will be married by her eighteenth birthday according to a UNFPA report,” she notes, adding, “The study also revealed that if nothing is done to stop current trends, more than 140 million girls will become child brides by 2020.” She continues, “Now is the time to work together to end child marriage.”

The Commonwealth of Nations “has committed to working towards ending the practice and the High-Level Panel on the Post-MDG framework has recommended that ending child marriage by 2030 should be a specific development goal for the Commonwealth and the rest of the global community,” Kabir writes. “We must take the commitment made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011 (.pdf), and turn it into action now,” she continues, adding, “A Commonwealth plan of action to end child marriage must be developed.” She writes, “The 54-member states can also drive this agenda forward at the United Nations, by ensuring the secretary general maintains ending child marriage as a central plank to future development goals and supporting a U.N. resolution to end child marriage by 2015.” Kabir concludes, “The wider Commonwealth community can be the agents of change for children around the world — within and beyond our country borders” (6/26).

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