|Prevent Child Marriage: Help Give Millions of Girls a Choice and a Chance|
July 22, 2010
Just imagine yourself as a young child wanting to make their dreams come true to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. But then you get married at a young age-do you really think those dreams are still alive? It would take a miracle for those dreams to happen...
- From a letter to Senator Barbara Mikulski authored by Mamadou Elhadji Coulibaly, School Girls Unite, age 12
The International Women's Health Coalition has been working in close collaboration with colleagues in Washington to advocate for the passage of the Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act (S.987/H.R. 2103). During a Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing last week on the causes and consequences of child marriage, experts called for swift passage of this legislation. U.S. Ambassador at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer said during her testimony that by working together, "we can put child marriage where it belongs, in the dust bins of history."
By passing and implementing the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act, the United States will take an important step towards securing the human rights of girls everywhere. Child marriage also instigates a myriad of educational, social, and health challenges to girls who are married too young. Child brides run a very high risk of complications in pregnancy and childbirth, are more likely to experience gender-based violence, and are highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Most are forced to leave school when they marry, which limits their future economic opportunities and contributes to an ongoing cycle of poverty and poor development outcomes.
To build on the momentum generated from the hearing and get this important piece of legislation passed into law, we need your help. Please write your Representative and Senators TODAY-your voices will help secure the right of girls everywhere to decide if, and when, and whom they marry:
Worldwide, more than 60 million women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before the age of 18- often at the encouragement of their parents and often to much older men--with no say in the decision.
By passing and implementing the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act (H.R. 2103 and S. 987), the United States will take an important step towards securing the rights of girls and women everywhere to a just and healthy life.
The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act (H.R. 2103 and S. 987), introduced by Rep. McCollum (D-MN) in the House and Sens. Durbin (D-IL) and Snowe (R-ME) in the Senate would require the president to develop a strategy to combat child marriage; integrate the issue of child marriage into relevant US development programs; and require the State Department to report on the practice in its annual Human Rights Report.
I am concerned about this grave human rights violation and know that you will do what you can to ensure this legislation is passed into law this year.
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To support the work of IWHC and our partners in Asia, Africa, and Latin America in preventing early and forced marriages, consider making a gift to IWHC today.