Niger's Child Marriage Crisis: Health, Rights, and Protection
Keywords:Niger, Child Marriage, Child Health, Human Rights, Sustainable Development Goals, Convention on the Rights of the Child OHCHR
Child marriage is a harmful practice that strips millions of children’s human rights by threatening their health, safety, and autonomy. While boys and girls are subject to this form of abuse, girls are disproportionately affected with more than 650 million women alive today married as children (OHCHR 2022). Niger consistently ranks as the country with the highest prevalence of child marriage with 76% of girls married before the age of 18. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was predicted that more than 100 million girls would be subject to child marriages before their 18th birthday. However, due to the pandemic, a predicted additional 10-13 million will be left susceptible to violence and severe health complications (UNICEF 2020). As a result, major plans need to be made to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals’ call for global action to eliminate child marriage by 2030 (UNICEF 2020). To understand the major implications of child marriages on the development of children in Niger, this paper will identify various convention violations, specifically the Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC), main drivers of child marriages, and the negative health and psychological impacts of child marriages. This paper will conclude with ways to develop interventions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for eliminating child marriages by 2030 on both a local and global scale and identify knowledge gaps to create more equitable and holistic interventions to eliminate child marriage practices for children.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Megan Ngai, Mina Kreutzer Joo, Weenta-Letehans Yacob
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