Nfamara Jawneh made the declaration in a statement he delivered at a recent symposium to commemorate International Human Rights Day under the theme, ‘Early Marriage Deprives Girls the Right to Education: Let’s Stop It Now’ in Wuli West, Upper River Region.
He said: “Child marriage must be viewed within a context of force and coercion thus involving pressure and emotional blackmail and children that lack the choice and capacity to give their full consent. Most child marriages are also forced marriages hence even if a child appears to give his or her consent; anyone under the age of eighteen is not able to make a fully informed choice whether or not to marry. It holds girls back and cuts their education short as they are pulled out of school early. It also deprives young girls in particular their rights to quality education and it is usually associated with teenage pregnancy, social isolation and Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Human rights activists and defenders also noted that early marriage imposes adult lifestyles unto young girls for which many of them are not prepared both psychologically and physically.”
The community development and human rights activist stated that Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights condemns the act saying ‘that marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.’
“The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women also prohibits child marriage. Typically, parents, guardians or other prominent family members force young girls into a marriage where they have no say and have to succumb to the whims, wrong decisions and cruelty by those controlling their lives. The result of such actions is that families will breakdown as very often the newlywed couples are unable to maintain a mutually supporting and loving relationship.”
Other speakers at the event included the chief of Wuli West, Alhagie Kemo Jatta, Musa Mbogar police child welfare officer, and Beakanyang president, Mori Conteh.]]>