KABUL: First Lady Rula Ghani on Tuesday called for the protection of Afghan girls against child marriages, Bakhtar News Agency (BNA) reported.
According to her, forced marriages affect physical health of young girls and rob them of their childhood and future, the agency added.
“Child marriage is a depressing phenomenon for the young generation of Afghanistan and it is a national responsibility to stop the menace,’’ she told audience in an event held in Media and Information Centre. The event marked the inauguration of “National Action Plan to Eliminate Early Child Marriage’’ by Afghan Ministries of Women Affairs and Information and Culture.
The inauguration was supported by the Embassy of Canada in Afghanistan and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
“I urge all Afghan families to avoid child and forced marriages. Your girls face a huge risk when they get married at young age. “Early marriage robs them of their childhood and future opportunities,’’ she added.
The First Lady noted that getting married in an appropriate age reduces girls’ risk for physical, sexual, psychological as well as economic abuse.
UNFPA country representative at the event, Bannet Ndyanabangi said a girl, below 18, was capable of rapidly gaining wisdom and knowledge from the people around her.
“She can be one day an inspiring leader, a productive worker, an innovator, a caring parent or take any other role that empowers a society. “She can shape the future of her society. “But all of this depend on how we support her today,’’ Ndyanabangi said.
According to a statement issued by UNFPA, the plan of action adopts two approaches, it outlines initiatives designed to prevent and end early child marriage. In the ceremony, deputy minister of information and culture on youth affairs, Dr. Kamal Sadat called the program effective to prevent forced marriages and asked religious Ulama, influential figures, media and civil society activists to cooperate in fighting the scourge so the children are not deprived of their rights, BNA added. He added that unacceptable rampant traditions in the society have caused child marriages, an action that should be soon prevented.
“Volunteer committees consisting youth have been established in all provinces of the country and they will cooperate in the respect,” he added.
Calling implementation of the plan one of the ministry for women affairs priorities, the ministry’s representative said that low-level awareness of families is among the reasons behind child marriages in the country. The Kabul Times