Father’s bid to marry off minor foiled in Thakurgaon

The family had fixed the marriage of the Class IX student in Bhangbari on Friday, officials said.

After being alerted by local people, a team from the local administration, led by Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sohel Sultan Julker Nain Kabir, reached the house of the girl and stopped the marriage ceremony.

Later, a mobile court fined the girl's father Tk 5,000 for violating the government’s Covid directive by arranging the marriage.

Child marriage in Bangladesh

Between April and October last year, at least 13,886 children were married off in 21 districts when Bangladesh was grappling with coronavirus in its initial stage, according to a survey.

An average of 1.7 child marriages took place a day during this period.

Of the child brides, 5,089 said they had experienced unexpected pregnancy, according to the survey conducted by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF).

They findings were unveiled at a webinar titled 'Rapid Analysis of Child Marriage situation: Coronavirus period 2020' in association with UNFPA, UNICEF and Plan International.

Of the child brides, 50.6 percent were aged between 16 and 17 years at the time of their marriage. Another 47.7 percent were between 13 and15 years old.

A UNICEF report released in October last year noted that despite significant progress in recent years, Bangladesh has the highest prevalence of child marriage in South Asia and ranks among 10 countries in the world with the highest levels.

It called for accelerated action to end child marriages in Bangladesh by 2030.

The report, 'Ending Child Marriage: A Profile of Progress in Bangladesh', said the country will need to put in more efforts to bring change to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to end child marriage by 2030, and the national target to end the practice by 2041.

Progress must be at least eight times faster than the rate of the past decade to meet the national target, and 17 times faster to meet the SDG target, it said.

While the prevalence of child marriage in Bangladesh has dropped from over 90 percent in 1970, it remains very high: 51 percent women who are currently aged 20-24 were married off while they were still children.

As a result, the country is home to 38 million child brides who got married before their 18th birthday, including 13 million who were forced to tie the knot before the age of 15.

Source: United News of Bangladesh