Every year, 10 million children are forced to marry before they reach the age of 18. A seminar on March 19th analyses the vulnerable situation in which these children are living.
They agree to it because of pressure from their families, emotional blackmail or beatings. It is a blatant violation of human rights which, according to UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), affects 41% of women aged 20 to 49 across the globe.
UNICEF argues that although the phenomenon is decreasing, it is still widely practised throughout the world. The organisation claims that many countries allow marriage before the age of 18. To date, only 113 of the 193 countries that make up the UN prohibit marriage before the age of 18.
The highest incidence occurs in South Asia (46%), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (37%), Latin America and the Caribbean (29%), Southeast Asia (18%), Middle East and North Africa (17%) and the EU and the Commonwealth of Independent States (11%).
In terms of countries, Niger recorded the highest rate of forced marriages; specifically, 77% of women aged between 20 and 24 were married before the age of 18. Bangladesh followed this with a figure of 65%.
In order to address this problem, non-profit organisation Southall Black Sisters is holding a seminar on March 19th at its headquarters for professionals working in this area, with a particular focus on the needs and resettlement of repatriated victims.
The seminar will discuss the nature of forced marriage and its impact on women and girls. It will also suggest tips on how to help prevent and escape forced marriages in the UK and abroad.
Speakers include: Hannana Siddiqui, of the Southall Black Sisters organisation; Marie Jenkinson, from the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit; and Khatun Sapnara, a lawyer from Coram Chambers.
The event will be held at the Human Rights Action Centre (London, EC2A 3EA), from 2pm until 4.30pm.
For more information, please visit the website: http://www.southallblacksisters.org.uk/forced-marriage-training-seminar/
(Translated by Marie-Thérèse Slorach)