8th March is an important date in the calendar as we, people worldwide celebrate in respectful manner ‘International Women’s Day’. On this day, almost everywhere in printing or electronic media, there are lots of discussions on woman’s economic, political, cultural and social achievements, especially over the past few years. All discussions highlight on multi-sectoral women empowerment which is absolutely appreciable for all of us - no doubt.
But I wonder to see a great tragic while, still there is going on rudest reality where almost 70% of young girls are being deprived of their basic Human Rights – Rights of Education, Rights of Health, Rights of Life and Rights of Social Security and it is indeed the hardest reality that we live in a country where rights of young girls are denied and they are living unprotected from violence at home and in society.
1/3rd of the young population in the world is young girls and they are the founder of future generation to uphold a nation to destiny. But these young population are living under the doctrine of social exploitation and extreme vulnerability. Social Injustice is their tragic reality – not their choice. The hardest reality takes away their basic rights-Rights to education and pulls out these young people from their school to get them ready for marriage and for producing or reproducing of babies.
Their economic and social circumstances are so cruel that there is no alternative option beyond this unjustified manner to make them deprived of their basic human rights and are being forcibly pushing them to get married even before 18 years old.
Child marriage is a violation of children’s human rights. Despite being prohibited by international law, it continues to rob millions of girls under 18 around the world of their childhood. Early marriage denies their rights to make vital decisions about their sexual health and well-being.
It forces them to move forward with an increased risk of violence, abuse, ill health or early death. Between the age of 13 to 17, young girls have to cut off their childhood period to get engaged for undertaking burden of family responsibilities at in-laws and whereas boys in same age still enjoy their childhood period as they are born with the privilege to enjoy their life at the fullest.
According to UNICEF statistics, Bangladesh has the highest percentage of child marriage among Asian countries. Currently, 52 to 66% of Bangladesh's young women are married before the time they're 18, according to UNICEF's 2016 State of the World's Children report. Of those, 18% are married by the time they turn 15 and the majority of married girls in Bangladesh have at least two children before they are eighteen years old which is one of the highest rates in the world.
The prime reasons behind this reality are not only poverty, not only illiteracy or not only lack of social awareness but because of Lack of Policy Implementation. In our country, there is Parliament to enact a law to protect human rights to women and young girls.
There is Child Marriage Restraint Act 2017 along with various effective policies to ensure young women’s rights and to protect them from any kind of violence and insecurity but those Acts and Policies, in reality, are not being implemented especially in lower income class population-in the community of the mass population in city slums and in villages.
Majority of the young girls in the town’s slum areas are enforced to get married by replacing their present age 15 to 18 to get forced marriage. The local people in a disrespectful manner are making the bad use of law or abusing the Law whereas Government working hardest to enactment legislation for the protection of their rights for the prosperity of the nation.
These hostile realities and these stories never come in flash of discussion anywhere because there is no strong, fearless and influential Voice to speak up for these Voiceless people.
If we like to protect this injustice to young girls or young women we need to take our fearless leadership role to fight against this violence and we need to bring our Hopes with the power of inspiration to stand for those vulnerable women. Let's be together to save those women while they are living Unprotected against Violence.
Samsoon Noor is Studying Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) at University of London, UK. She is also a member of Junior Chamber International (JCI) - Dhaka. She could be contacted through the email- firstname.lastname@example.org