NEW YORK, 7 March 2013 Between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls will become child brides, according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
If current levels of child marriages hold, 14.2 million girls annually or 39,000 daily will marry too young.
Furthermore, of the 140 million girls who will marry before the age of 18, 50 million will be under the age of 15.
Despite the physical damage and the persistent discrimination to young girls, little progress has been made toward ending the practice of child marriage. In fact, the problem threatens to increase with the expanding youth population in the developing world.
"Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of their education, health and long-term prospects," says Babatunde Osotimehin, M.D, Executive Director, UNFPA."A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled. Since many parents and communities also want the very best for their daughters, we must work together and end child marriage."
Girls married young are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence and sexual abuse than those who marry later.
"Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death in young women aged 15-19. Young girls who marry later and delay pregnancy beyond their adolescence have more chances to stay healthier, to better their education and build a better life for themselves and their families," says Flavia Bustreo, M.D., Assistant Director-General for Family, Women's and Children's Health at the World Health Organization. "We have the means at our disposal to work together to stop child marriage."
On March 7, a special session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will focus on child marriage. The Governments of Bangladesh, Malawi and Canada will jointly sponsor the session. It is held in support of Every Woman Every Child, a movement spearheaded by U.N. Secretary-
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