Afghanistan’s First Lady Rula Ghani has called on Afghans to end the practice of marrying off their daughters at a young age, saying early marriage has an impact on girls and puts them at risk.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) and Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) said government is committed to putting an end to teen brides and forced marriages in the country. They said government has outlined a number of programs aimed at curbing the practice.
Rula Ghani made the remarks at a national conference on ending early marriages in the country. The conference was attended by high-ranking officials and delegates from domestic and international organizations.
Rula Ghani said that early and forced marriages were shocking trends in Afghanistan.
“Those who have not reached their legal age should not be married, because they do not have the ability to withstand a pregnancy and it risks their lives; because of this the maternal mortality level in Afghanistan is quite high,” she said.
Meanwhile, the United Nations and other international organizations welcomed government’s initiative to curb the trend in the country, calling on Afghan families to implement the programs regarding the issue.
“That the girls have access to education to safe quality education and the benefits are widely felt, educated girls develop the skills and the knowledge they need to live a healthy fulfilling life, they can earn an income, they can educate their own children, they can contribute to the state and to the peace and stability, community and country,” said Kenneth Neufeld, the Canadian ambassador to Kabul.
“If the program is implemented, then we can control violence against women and children in the country,” said Spozhmai Wardak, deputy minister of women’s affairs.
Based on data from the national statistics organization, more than 17 percent of girls in Afghanistan between the age of 15 and 19 and more than 62 percent of girls between the age of 20 and 24 are married.
International organizations have said that more than 700 million women across the world have been married off at a young age, which comprises nearly ten percent of all the women in the world.