Underage marriages of girls rise in Kandahar
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): There has been an increase in underage marriages of girls in southern Kandahar province, an official said on Thursday.
Afghanistan Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Kandahar chapter’s juvenile section head Shamduddin Tanvir told Pajhwok Afghan News 12 underage marriages of girls were reported during the first six months of this solar year and the number of such marriages might be higher because such events went unreported in remote parts.
He said another factor behind unreported underage marriages was reluctance of families to share such information with the authorities, making it difficult to collect information about child marriages.
He said the AHRC had organized a number of meetings with families to discourage underage marriages and inform them about complications of such unions which often resulted in suicides, runaway from homes and domestic violence.
He listed reasons behind underage marriages as illiteracy, poverty and insecurity, believing until the government did not work to address these issues, underage marriages would continue to happen.
Kandahar Women’s Affairs deputy director Lailuma also acknowledged that underage marriages of girls had increased in the province.
She told Pajhwok Afghan News her department had worked a lot in this regard and had arranged many workshops to spread awareness about the hazardous effects of underage marriages on girls’ lives.
She said underage marriages were the main factor behind domestic violence, a trend still alive in the Afghan society.
She urged families to give their daughters the opportunity to complete their education and after that give them in marriages with their consent and consultations with family members.
She said religious scholars, teachers, influential figures and parents had the prime responsibility to prevent underage marriages of girls. The women’s affairs official said families of such girls were facing a lot of problems.
Nasima, 45, a resident of Kandahar City, whose daughter got married at the age of 13, said her daughter was leading a miserable life and it was their main concern.
She told Pajhwok Afghan News: “My husband stopped our daughter from going to school under the pretext that she had grown enough and should stay home. Later he gave her in Nikah to the son of his friend without seeking my consent. It has been two years now, my daughter never saw a day of happiness and her life is like hell.”
The mother said the husband of her daughter paid no attention to her and her-laws daily beat her for no reason.
She said her daughter had many times attempted to commit suicide, but she intervened.
In light of her experience, the mother urged families to avoid giving their underage daughters into marriages and playing with their lives.
Civil society activist, Ihsanullah Ihsan, said underage marriages not only gave birth to a number of social problems but were against Islam as well.
The activist, who runs a higher education institute in Kandahar City, said he recently organised an awareness campaign against underage marriages in the province.
He said underage marriages of girls not only deprived them of education, but also introduced them to a new life they had no ability and experience to deal with.
Such marriages had negative impact on their health and mentality because underage girls could not manage their private lives and lacked knowledge about rearing children, the civil society activist said.
Ihsan said underage girls were continued to be married in cities and villages and efforts were needed to discourage the trend through organising gatherings to create awareness.
Religious scholar Mualvi Mohammad Salim said Islam never allowed girls to be married before reaching the legal age.
He said families should pay attention to the rights of their children and should allow their daughters to complete education and let them effectively choose life partners.
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