Effects of early child marriages

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Effects of early child marriages

RAWALPINDI (APP): A seminar on Early Child Marriages was organized here Wednesday at District Council Hall aimed at raising awareness about negative effects of these marriages.

The seminar was organized by a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) in collaboration with Aizan Development Foundation, (ADF), Swiss Embassy and City District Government Rawalpindi.

Various stakeholders including government officials, Marriage Registrars, Religious scholars, Community Heads, parents of out of school children and others attended the workshop.

The seminar was arranged to sensitize communities, particularly Marriage Registrars and parents about negative effects of such marriages on the health of under age couples, particularly young girls. The participants were sensitized on the law, penalties, punishments and how to report child marriage cases to the authorities.

Assistant Commissioner City Maleeha Jamal on the occasion said education could change the mindsets of the people about early age marriages.

She said an awareness campaign in this regard should be lauched at gross root level in educational institutes, adding City District Government was making efforts to collaborate with civil society to address all important issues at gross root level.

Executive Director, SSDO Syed Kausar Abbas highlighted the importance of Birth Registration and the Right to Education under Article 25A of the Pakistan Constitution.

He said awareness workshops being organized by SSDO and ADF would help reduce child marriages across the country and encourage education of children.

SSDO and ADF were making efforts to raise awareness of Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, enhance school enrolment for out of school children, increase number of reported cases of Early Child Marriages to advocate for better response from the authorities concerned and strict regulations to stop the marriages.

Advocate Uzma Nawaz underlined the need to further strengthen and make local government structures at Union Council level more responsive so that birth registration and marriage registration process could be made smoother and efficient.

She briefed the participants about national and international laws and human rights conventions about Early Child Marriages.

The UC structure needs to be made active enough to register the marriages while the Nikah Khwan should also be made responsible to cross check/verify the age of the girl and boy before Nikah, she added.

Director, Ministry of Human Rights Kashif Kamal shared the details of the website introduced by the Ministry to address the issues of human rights at massive level.

He said the ministry was taking keen interest under the leadership of the minister to improve human rights issues in the country and provides free Legal Aid, Technical Aid and shelter to the human rights victims.

The helpline was accessible to everywhere and could be used by victims to complaint against violation of human rights.