As Cameroon joins the international community today to commemorate the day of the girl child under the theme fighting against child marriage, stakeholders in the sector are calling on the government to step up investments to end child marriage and protect girls in the country.
According to PLAN Cameroon, urgent action is needed to prevent thousands of girls from being forced into marriage in the next decade.
“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 stakeholder engagements on ending child marriage.”
“The government needs to invest in solutions to end the practice. But ending child marriage isn’t just the responsibility of government: communities, traditional rulers, queen mothers, religious leaders, youth groups and women and girls themselves all have a role to play.”
Across the world, 15 million girls are married each year before the age of 18. Girls who marry as children are deprived of their fundamental rights to health, education and safety. 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/AIDS and suffering domestic violence.
“Today, across the world, empowered girls are raising their voices to fight for their rights and protection in all contexts. They are working to end violence against women and girls, to recognize indigenous rights, and to build peaceful and cohesive communities”. a statement from the UN Women website on the day reads.