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Child marriage and child betrothal customs occur in various times and places, whereby children are given

in matrimony - before marriageable age as defined by the commentator and often before puberty. Today such customs are fairly widespread in parts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America: in former times it occurred also in Europe. It is frequently associated with arranged marriage. In some cases only one marriage-partner is a child, usually the female, due to importance placed upon female virginity, the inability of women to work for money and to women's shorter reproductive life period relative to men's. An increase in the advocacy of human rights, whether as women's rights or as children's rights, has caused traditions of child marriage to decrease in many areas.

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typically pertains to two social phenomena of either marrying a young child to an adult or a form of arranged marriage in which the parents of two children arrange for a future marriage. The practice of child marriage is deeply embedded in human culture. In Ancient Rome, women were under the rule of their fathers and were usually arranged to marriage at the young age of twelve or fourteen. This was done to carry on family bloodline and assure economical and political stance. Child marriage continued until the middle ages and even to this modern day, early marriage is still widely observed in Egypt, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Pakistan, India, the Middle East and at a lesser degree in England and he United States.

Causes of child marriage


There are various reasons to the practice of child marriage in these nations. Most common are cultural, social, economic, religious or a mix of these factors. Whatever it maybe, one thing is obvious, the tradition results in the imprisonment of children in marriages without their consent that even leads to a cascade of lifetime miseries.
Child marriage: A faulty cultural belief

In some cultures, adolescent girls marrying at a young age is said to be a way of protecting her sexuality and honor by marrying as a virgin. This is a result of unfair beliefs that poses pressure on young girls becoming child brides.
Child marriage: A surviving social discrimination

Despite the dawn of new age, apparently some forms of social discriminations have remain in the society and child marriage is obviously one. Child marriages show devaluing of girls and boys by robbing their right to decide with their own free will.
Child marriage: A way out of poverty?

One very disheartening cause of youthful marriages is the desire of the family to escape poverty. Poor families sell their children into wealthy husband to be who will settle the debts or gain monetary values in hope to get out of poverty cycle.

Opposition to child marriage


The dawn of the modern century saw the need to address all forms of human rights violations of which child marriage is one. Throughout the world, a growing number of child and women advocates have shown protests against such a practice. The concerns are primarily expressed in the following conventions and charters:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Convention on the Rights of the Child Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

These organizations primarily fight for human rights of children, adolescents and especially of women who are often the innocent victims of a faulty societal process. The Convention on the Rights of the Child found the following rights undermined by the practice of child marriage.

The right to an education- Most children especially girls who marries at prepubescence were no longer sent to school for education as they were already expected to perform wifely functions. The right to be protected from physical and mental violence, injury or abuse, including sexual abuse, rape and sexual exploitation- The marriage itself taking place at an age not yet fully understood by those involved is in itself a mental violence which later on becomes a mental torture. The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health- Young marriage will lead to young pregnancy, where a womans body has not yet reached an optimum state for conception. This leaves the womens health at high risk. The right to rest and leisure, and to participate freely in cultural life- Early marriage becomes a lifetime prison. The right to not be separated from parents against the childs will. The right to protection against all forms of exploitation affecting any aspect of the childs welfare. The right to eventual employment.

Anti-child marriage advocacy: An ongoing battle


Despite the societys call to end the unfair and vicious practice of child marriage, we still bear witness to countless cases around the world. The primary reason is that nations who allow early marriage are reluctant in adopting the international campaigns of liberating the community from the binds of faulty social beliefs and practices. This results to inadequate laws to oppose such a tradition. If there ever is a law against it, the government does not impose clear punishment on the offenders. Worse, some laws upheld by a nation even promotes child marriage. Such case is giving families their freedom to form own familial laws. This becomes a good venue to impose

child weddings. With these concerns, the entire community should continue its vigilance and intense opposition on child marriage to protect the children and their future against the harsh practices of the yester years that goes on this modern days.