Rights watchdog suggests research on underage marriages
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Tuesday expressed its concern about an alarming rise of underage girl marriages in the country, urging a nation-wide research on evaluating their causes.
The call came at a conference titled “Early Marriages and Children”, arranged by the Information and Culture Ministry in cooperation with the AIHRC and other national and international organisations.
According to Information and Culture Ministry officials, the conference was aimed at devising strategies to prevent such marriages in cooperation with relevant organisations, religious scholars, elders and civil society organisations.
Qadria Yazdan Parast, a member of the AIHRC, said the rights watchdog was concerned about the rise of early marriages.She said there were no figures about the number of early marriages among girls, but said a nation-wide research on evaluating the causes was necessary.
Yazdan Parast added apart from economic and cultural reasons, there were other causes also that should be identified by the research and a comprehensive strategy be worked out to prevent the phenomenon.
Earlier marriage law was approved by the parliament that determined marriage age at 18. However, the law is yet to be implemented.
Kamal Sadat, deputy information and culture minister, said they had some programmes for preventing early marriages. Public awareness about laws and the negative consequences of underage marriages are part of the programmes to be implemented with the help of religious scholars, local elders, civil society activists and other national and international organisations.
Kamal Sadat said there was still no proper survey about the social issue. But citing 2010 and 2011 figures, he said more than 15.2 percent of marriages involved girls under 15 and 46.8 under 18.
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