Three-quarters of girls in Niger are married before they are adults.1 Child marriage often amounts to slavery, for example, when girls have not given their free and full consent, are subjected to control, exploited and unable to leave, 2 so outlawing it is an important step towards protecting Niger children.
Right now young girls are being married off to older men.
Fati Yahaya at just 20 has been married twice, divorced once, and suffered a postpartum hemorrhage after the birth of her first child.3 With the age of consent for girls set at 15 years old, and many marrying younger with parental permission, thousands of girls like Zeinabou and Fati face a life of abuse and unrealized potential.
Former President Mahamadou Issoufou had publicly declared his intent to address the causes of child marriage but did not advance any policies to this effect before leaving office. Niger’s current President Mohamed Bazoum has also indicated that reducing child marriage is a priority for his government.4 In addition, a law has been proposed to change the age to 18 for girls but it is yet to be adopted.
Call on Niger’s President to outlaw the child marriage of girls.
*Image copyright of ILRI/Stevie Mann: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ilri
- http://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/jahia-publications/documents/publications/2012/ChildMarriage_8_annex1_indicator-definition.pdf ↩
- http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/when-does-child-marriage-become-slavery/ ↩
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/girls-education-niger_564ddb93e4b031745ceff27b ↩
- https://www.reuters.com/article/us-niger-politics/new-niger-president-bazoum-says-he-will-improve-education-security-idUSKBN2BP124 ↩