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Child marriage worries rise amid coronavirus lockdown in Cameroon (The New Humanitarian)

June 11, 2020

From the article:

"...'My father complained [that] instead of me eating his food and occupying his space, I better get married,' Inna* told The New Humanitarian in April at her home near Ngaoundéré, in the Adamawa region. 'My father told me that marriage is my ticket to heaven – not education.'

There are far-reaching consequences to the continuing practice of child marriage. Girls are often stripped of educational opportunities and subjugated to lives of chores, childbearing, and domestic violence, UNICEF says. The World Health Organisation also says the leading causes of death for girls ages 15 to 19 are complications from pregnancy or childbirth. 

Aid groups warn that forced child marriages could be on the rise globally due to school closures, food insecurity, and economic uncertainty triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Ethiopia, more than 500 girls have been rescued from forced marriages since March, while anecdotal evidence suggests spikes in other countries such as Afghanistan, India, South Sudan, and Yemen.

The United Nations Population Fund, or UNFPA, has predicted that the anticipated economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, along with disrupted efforts to end child marriage, could result in some 13 million more child marriages in the next decade. 

Girls in developing countries are also at a substantial risk of gender-based violence, early pregnancy, and dropping out once schools re-open, according to a new survey from the Center for Global Development, a Washington D.C.-based think tank..."

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