Syrian refugee girls face ‘harmful’ child marriage pattern, says charity – Times of India

BEIRUT: Syrian refugee girls are more and more in danger of child marriage on account of a surge in pandemic-linked poverty, authorized loopholes and lengthy-time period displacement in nations throughout the Middle East and North Africa, charity Save the Children mentioned on Friday.
More than 5.5 million Syrians are registered as asylum seekers within the area, 10 years since battle broke out of their homeland, in line with the United Nations.
“Refugee communities are reeling from protracted displacement, poverty, and the consequences of Covid-19 and we know that economic hardship, protection concerns, and lack of access to education are persistent drivers of child marriage,” mentioned Caitlin Smith from Save the Children.
“This is a dangerous trend that we fear could get worse in the summer,” mentioned Smith, the charity’s marketing campaign and advocacy supervisor for the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
The U.N. kids’s company, UNICEF, mentioned in March that as much as 10 million extra girls all over the world might grow to be child brides over the following decade as a result of of Covid-19’s impression on education and economies.
Across the Middle East and North Africa, almost 40 million married ladies and girls have been wed in childhood, in line with Save the Children.
In a report titled “Married by Exception”, the group discovered that legal guidelines in opposition to child marriage in Jordan, Iraq and Egypt included quite a few exemptions – similar to permitting early marriage with parental or judicial consent.
Lebanon, which alone is house to an estimated 1 million Syrian refugees, has not enacted a legislation in opposition to child marriage, regardless of years of campaigning by activists.
The report mentioned that none of the nations it had studied implement clear and constant penalties for child marriage, and avenues for recourse have been low, significantly in refugee camps, which frequently lie in distant areas.
Refugee girls are being married off at a lot increased charges than host communities as their households battle to outlive and see marriage as a method to save on bills, it added.
The report famous that in Lebanon, 6% of Lebanese ladies aged between 20 and 24 reported being married earlier than turning 18, however that rose to 40% amongst Syrian refugees of the identical age.
Rana, a 16-12 months-previous Syrian lady dwelling in northern Lebanon, mentioned all however one of her associates had already been married off.
“None of them are happy – they just want to go back to school,” Rana, who will not be married, informed the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
In Turkey, too, about 15% of ladies between 20-24 have been married as kids, however that determine triples for Syrian refugees dwelling there, the report mentioned.
Ahead of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris subsequent week, Save the Children urged all nations to set 18 because the minimal marriage age, shut authorized loopholes, register all marriages formally and penalise anybody who facilitates a child marriage.
“These countries need new laws, and it shouldn’t matter where you live,” mentioned Rana, asking to not give her full identify. “Whether in a village or a city, the law should be applied the same everywhere.” (Reporting by Maya Gebeily @gebeilym; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit score the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of individuals all over the world who battle to reside freely or pretty.

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