I am writing to you to congratulate you on your efforts to ban child marriage in your country.
We have learned about your laudable campaign through various media, most recently on BBC radio, and in discussion with International NGOs.
We immediately thought that we would like to support you in your efforts as child marriage is one of the priorities of our organisation.
During our 36th Congress, which took place in London 9 -13 September 2014, we adopted a resolution on the subject which I am sending to you in the Arabic translation.
One of the biggest risks for child brides is early pregnancy. The high incidence of maternal mortality is a result of marriages of girls not yet sufficiently mature to carry babies to term successfully. Unfortunately your country has one of the highest mortality rates in the region, which is why we think that this argument should carry weight with all segments of society.
The child bride practice is fueled by many factors. Poverty is one of them.The low level of the status of women in society is another. To address that situation efforts should be undertaken to promote women’s human rights in all areas of life, but especially within families. Girls and boys can be socialised to a culture that is based on mutual respect and support. Associations of teachers and parents might take up child marriage as a priority issue for collective action. There could be college scholarships for young girls that are tied up to a condition that they will not be married until college is completed.
Parents who prematurely betroth their daughters need to be educated about the negative consequences of their intent. Registration of applications for marriages also have to be strictly enforced so that authorities can intervene to prevent the child bride practice.
Alternative economic opportunities for families must be made available to parents who choose to desist from the custom of marrying off their daughters prematurely.
Media have an important role in educating the public on the issue.
The national survey of violence against girls and women that you are planning to undertake will give a clearer picture of the extent of child marriage and its correlation with domestic violence and will be a useful tool in your struggle against the scourge of child marriage.
I wish you every success in your campaign. We look forward to hearing more about it.
International Alliance of Women