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24.10.2017 02:13 News >> West And Central Africa Lead World İn Child Marriages

West And Central Africa Lead World İn Child Marriages

Girls in region face highest risk of marrying in childhood, says report.

By Alpha Kamara

DAKAR, Senegal

Six of the 10 countries with the world's highest prevalence of child marriage are in West and Central Africa, where 20,000 girls are married illegally daily, a report said Monday.

Worldwide,15 million girls are forcefully married every year, according to the report.

The data was revealed at a high-level regional meeting in Dakar to discuss ways of reducing child marriage in the sub-region.

The regional session, chaired by Senegal's Prime Minister Mohammed Abdallah Dionne, was attended by three first ladies, female ministers and child rights activists with the aim of strengthening laws to reduce the trend.

First Ladies in attendance were Sierra Leone's Sia Nyama Koroma, Burkina Faso's Bella Sika Kabore and Senegal's Marieme Faye Sall.

At the meeting, organized by UNICEF, UNFPA, Save the Children and Plan International, several girls were allowed to share their stories on the situation in their countries and called for action.

Sierra Leone's First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma said her country has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world as it is deeply rooted in the culture.

"The war, Ebola outbreak and recent mudslide disaster also contributed to the problem," she said, where parents, as the breadwinners, died, forcing girls to turn to marriage in order to survive, with their young husbands taking on the deceased parents' responsibilities.

"My priority and the government's is to see that all girls are educated to utilize their potentials and are allowed to get married when they are mature and ready," she added.

Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Central African Republic, Nigeria and Sierra Leone are among the highest in terms of child marriage prevalence and government representatives all made commitments to end the practice through the enforcement of effective laws. -



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