10 Million Girls at Risk of Child Marriage due to Covid-19

Some 10 million girls are today in danger of marrying by the end of this decade.
Some 10 million girls are today in danger of marrying by the end of this decade. Photo: Prensa Latina

United Nations: As many as 10 million additional child marriages may occur before the end of the decade, according to a new analysis released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today.

The school closures, economic stress, service disruptions, pregnancy and parental deaths of parents due to the pandemic are putting the most vulnerable girls at increased risk of child marriage.

Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, 100 million girls were at risk of child marriage in the next decade, despite significant reductions in several nations in recent years.

But such recent progress is under threat due to the health crisis, UNICEF stressed.

That agency now insists on the need to keep schools open, taking into account all sanitary measures to avoid contagion.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore called for sparing no effort to keep girls at school as the pandemic continues into a second year.

School closure cost is devastating, she said, 90% of students worldwide faced the measure during 2020 and more than a third were without access to remote education.

The cost of closures of those centers is devastating, she indicated earlier this year, 90 percent of students worldwide faced that measure during 2020 and more than a third were without access to remote education.

Fore also warned that keeping children at home puts their health, development, safety and well-being at risk, and the most vulnerable are the most affected.

Without the safety net that schools often provide, many children are more vulnerable to abuse, marriage and child labor, she stressed.

In the opinion of the UNICEF executive director, if minors face another year of school closures, the effects will be felt for generations to come.

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