There are parts of the world where it is not allowed to be children, because the war crushes every normal aspiration. There are others, in the remotest suburbs, where it is not war or poverty, but the culture itself – giving the term a value that contrasts with its deeper meaning – to prevent it. Especially if you are a woman. So it is in Bangladesh, where for years a number of international organizations are pushing to overcome the “normality” of violations of women’s rights and especially girls, a common problem in many Asian countries and in Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
An organization for women’s rights, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, reported the results of an analysis carried out starting from press reports, that at least 423 women and girls had been victims of various forms of violence in October 2014. The only organization stated that over 100 of these women had been raped, 11 of which were later killed. More than 40 had been victims of physical violence because their families were unable to provide the necessary dowry to her husband or her family; of these, 16 had died due to injuries. Women and girls are victims of domestic violence, acid attacks and treats, too.
According to UNICEF, Bangladesh is the country in the world with the highest number of marriages of girls under the age of 15; 2 percent of brides are under 11 years. According to Amnesty International the phenomenon of the early marriage, it is widespread in South Asia where 46 percent of girls are given in marriage before the age of 18 years; It is spread mainly in the poorest rural areas, where families have no possibility to provide education to their daughters and marriage is the only way to survive and to protect them from abuse and sexual molestation; or better, in many cases is a way to “encode” within a stable situation, accepted by society.
This despite the law. Since 1929, in fact, the Government of Bangladesh (Marriage Restraint Act) prohibits early marriage and from 1980 the minimum age for marriage has been fixed at 18 years for women and 21 for men. Nevertheless, 65 percent of women become wife before the age of majority.
That’s why few days ago, Australia, Brac (the largest NGO that deals with poverty and development in the world) and the United Kingdom have reaffirmed their commitment to work with the Bangladesh government to end child marriage. Dr. Muhammad Musa, executive director of Brac, said:”Every day, Brac helps in Bangladesh girls to reach their full potential, a global approach that includes creating economic, educational opportunities and health. After over 40 years of experience in taking forward women’s rights, today we are determined more than ever “.
For Jane Edmondson, Country Representative of the United Kingdom Department for International Development, “damaging practices in Bangladesh such as pregnancy, forced marriage and domestic violence make the growth of the difficult girls. they have little chance to finish school and find work. Change all that it is essential to reduce poverty in Bangladesh and achieve sustainable economic growth. ”
“Helping young women and girls to reach their full potential is essential for Bangladesh to achieve its economic and social objectives,” said the Australian High Commissioner, Julia Niblett. “This is why Australia together with the UK, is proud to support the efforts of the Brac to empower girls, supporting them to achieve their full potential.”
To tell the truth it must be said that significant progress has been made in Bangladesh in the last 15 years to improve teenagers’ life. There are more young people in schools and access to health care has improved, but everything stops too early, when it is forced into marriage. The country still suffers one of the highest child marriage rates in the world, and with it the tragedy of a childhood denied.