The inaugural International Day of the Girl Child will take place on 11 October 2012. For its first observance, this year’s Day focuses on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and has an impact on all aspects of a girl’s life.
Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk of violence and abuse, jeopardizes her health and therefore constitutes an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every Millennium Development Goal and the development of healthy communities.
In India, one of the countries in the world with the largest number of girls being married before their 18th birthday, child marriage has declined nationally and in nearly all states from 54 per cent in 1992-1993 to 43 per cent in 2007-2008, but the pace of change is slow.
UNICEF supported the passage of the Child Marriage Prohibition Act of 2006, and has since supported the development and implementation of a national strategy on child marriage that aims to coordinate programmes and policies to address both the causes and the consequences of child marriage.
Champions of Change
UNICEF focuses on ending child marriage on the International Day of the Girl Child
‘My Life, My Right, End Child Marriage’
On the first International Day of the Girl Child, UNICEF and partners are highlighting joint efforts to end child marriage – a fundamental human rights violation that impacts all aspects of a girl’s life.
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Village committees take on child marriage, convincing families to reject the age-old practice
Thanks to generous funding from the Ikea Foundation, UNICEF is supporting the government of Uttar Pradesh to set up Child Protection Committees across the state. Now, a Child Protection Committee has been formed in Bhawrak. The committee provides a safe environment in which people can talk about issues without the fear of backlash or being stigmatized.
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Initiating a mass movement and bringing about change
It is more than a year since Bina took a firm approach against child marriage. Now 13, she studies in a hostel at the Bagmundi Higher Secondary School for Girls and looks wise beyond her years.
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Standing up to the community and reintegrating into the education system after abduction
Mukti is a brave young girl and a lot of her thoughts and ideas were shaped by the teachings at the NCLP school. “She had already left the NCLP School when this case occurred, but the ideas of empowerment and independence and preventing child marriage were so ingrained in her that she was bold enough to take a firm stand.”