General News of Thursday, 12 October 2017
Girls Not Brides Ghana (GNB Ghana), a partnership of civil society organisations, has called on the Government to step up investments to end child marriage in the country.
A statement signed by Mrs Aba Oppong, the Chairperson of GNB, to coincide with the 2017 International Day of the Girl Child, said urgent action was needed to prevent thousands of girls from being forced into marriage in the next decade.
It said: “There is no more time for idle debates on this issue. We must take action now to eliminate child marriage, which violates girls’ rights and holds back development. That is why the partnership is holding 10 regional stakeholder engagements on ending child marriage.”
The statement urged the Government to invest in solutions to end the practice, including funding for the Ghana National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage.
It said ending child marriage was not just the responsibility of government but communities, traditional rulers, queen mothers, religious leaders and youth groups adding that women and girls themselves had roles to play.
“Across the world, 15 million girls are married each year before the age of 18, while in Ghana, one in every five girls will be married off before their 18th birthday; and in regions such as the Upper East and Upper West, almost 40 percent of girls are married as children,” the statement said.
It said girls forced into marriage were deprived their fundamental rights to health, education and safety and were neither physically nor emotionally ready to become wives and mothers.
“Child brides are at greater risk of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth, contracting HIV and AIDS and suffering domestic violence,” the statement said.
It touched on the country’s commitment under the Sustainable Development Goals to ending child, early and forced marriage by 2030, adding: “It is time we turned this commitment into action by taking bold measures to overcome the complex drivers of child marriage in our country.”