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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 29
July 21, 2007

This week's issue:
Human Rights Advocacy
Law Opinion
Law Campaign
Law Analysis
Rights Monitor
Law Event
Law Week

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Rights Monitor

Child marriage

Still persists in remote areas

Child marriage and dowry is becoming the unexpected social problem in different districts of local level. The incidents are paving the way of family conflict, reducing female education rate, starvation, and suicide and increasing of left by husbands etc. The society is becoming unrest due to the problem in addition to disrespect towards law, non-registration of marriage, hiding information of age during registration, social insecurity, lack of awareness and discrimination between girls and boys.

Recently a group of child journalists from Shishu Prokash (Children's Express) conducted a field study, that examined the relationship between child marriage and dowry with unawareness, illiteracy and bad practices. Due to child marriage, daughters are entering a family without sufficient knowledge on responsibilities for husband and family. As a result, she becomes unpopular and family conflict arises. Her life becomes under threat during maternal delivery in tender age and her health become at risk. On the other hand, bride's father is becoming penniless to fulfill dowry requirements. Besides that, women have to face torture because of the failure of fulfilling promised dowry. Women left by husbands are to be burden of poor parents.

Although various laws are available and justice procedure prevails under family law to defend child marriage but the overall scenario of child marriage is not improving. If any guardian arranges child marriage of girls under 18 and boys under 21, there is the provision of minimum 2000 taka fine. Section 4 of dowry law keeps the provision of highest 5 years jail for dowry. But the main problem here is that, most of the incidents are either undisclosed or non-complained. Registration is not emphasized at all for early marriage. Often the marriage registrar arranges everything to hide the age of bridegroom. For the similar reason, most of the dowry issues do not come under law.

Regarding the issues, discussion was arranged with the local people involving sufferer families, UP Chairman, UP members and IC of local police camp. They pointed some suggestions:
*Introducing social security to protect child marriage
*Increasing public awareness
*Increasing the rate of secondary school enrolment for girls
*Motivating people for providing related departments with necessary information of child marriage and dowry.

Therefore a concentrated effort needs to be taken to prevent child marriage and steps should be taken for awareness raising at local level.

Source: Children's Express, an initiative of Mass-Line Media Centre and UNICEF.


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