Child Marriage Is A Violation Of Human Rights

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Child marriage, defined as the formal or informal union before the age of 18, affects both girls and boys, even though girls are disproportionately affected (USAID, 2011). One third of girls in developing countries are married before turning 18 and one in nine are married before the age of 15 (ICRW, 2006). Child marriage is a violation of the human rights according to the 1990 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and the Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women points out that even though a child may attain sexual maturity early, the child often is not mature enough to handle the physical, physiological, and psychological responsibilities pertaining to child bearing, marriage and motherhood (Maswikwa, et al., 2015; USAID, 2011). Child brides have limited ability to negotiate contraception use and engage in sexual activities that can result in pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. In the long run, pregnancy can have detrimental effects including obstetric fistula, which often occurs among girls who give birth before their bodies are physically mature (Kanesathasan et al., 2008). Child brides are more likely to experience domestic abuse and violence as compared to their peers who marry later (ICRW, 2006). The health problems, abuse and violence can lead to isolation from family and friends, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, depression and post-traumatic stress (ICRW, 2006). Delaying child marriage
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