Child marriage - laws should be more stringent

N  R Gushiegu Marks International Day Of The Girl Child

7.5m girls become child brides each year

However, there was a conscious decision on part of the Parliament to not amend Exception 2 and retain the age of 15 mentioned therein.

'She is more likely to leave school, she may become pregnant and suffer abuse, ' said Thorning-Schmidt.

It described the amendment as vital for the future of the girl child in Pakistan, being directly linked to their welfare and protection. Additionally, reliance was placed on the International Legal Framework on the rights of the child.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch said that the Pakistani government needed to prohibit underage marriage, and remove the confusion between religious interpretations and federal and provincial laws. Sex no doubt should be mutual but it affects the health of girls below a certain age and this has been medically proven. The court's ruling now effectively harmonises the definition of rape under the IPC with POCSO, which treats sex with a minor as crime, irrespective of her consent.

He said the policy goal is to ensure equal access to basic education and promote retention, competition and high performance for all pupils which require attention and provisions for particularly the disadvantaged children especially girls at the basic education level. Sexual violence at an early age further hampers the development of a girl and the denies her the right to a dignified life by eroding her confidence and having severe adverse consequences on her mental health.

It was at the event organised by Plan International- an independent global rights organisation committed to supporting vulnerable and marginalised children and their communities to be free from poverty. However, there are limitations on the extent to which civil society can combat the evil and it is by way of legislation alone that concrete steps can be taken in this direction. The Supreme Court also read down the section of the colonial law that exempted marital rape in the case of minors (above the age of 15), saying it violated the bodily integrity of a girl child. But, until recently, if a girl was above 15 years of age and married, her husband had the right to have "sex" her without it being a punishable offence. The top court also made clear that it had not "dealt with the larger issue of marital rape (sexual intercourse with wife without her consent) of adult women" as it was not raised before it.

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