By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Child marriage among boys is prevalent across a range of countries around the world, UNICEF research has uncovered.
An estimated 115 boys and men around the world were married as children, UNICEF said in it’s first ever in-depth analysis of child groom which was released this month.
The analysis showed that of these, one in five children, or 23 million, were married before the age of 15.
Using data from 82 countries, the study revealed that child marriage among boys is prevalent across a range of countries around the globe, spanning sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Carribean, South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific.
“Marriage steals childhood. Child grooms are forced to take on adult responsibilities for which they may not be ready.
“Early marriage brings early fatherhood, and with it added pressure to provide for a family, cutting short education and job opportunities,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore.
According to the data, the Central African Republic has the highest prevalence of child marriage among males(28 per cent), followed by Nicaragua at 19 per cent and Madagascar which has 13 per cent.
“The new estimates bring the total number of child brides and child grooms to 765 million.
“Girls remain disproportionately affected, with one in five in five young women aged 20 to 24 years old married before their 18th birthday, compared to one in 30 young men,” UNICEF disclosed.
It pointed out that while the prevalence, causes and impact of child marriage among girls have been extensively studied, little research exists on child marriage among boys.
UNICEF stated that children most at risk of child marriage come from the poorest households who live in rural areas, and have little education.
Having regard to the development Fore declared: “As we mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we need to remember that marrying boys and girls off while they are still children runs counter to the rights enshrined in the Convention.
“Through further research, investment and empowerment, we can end this violation.”