I was so pleased to see this op-ed by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson in Sunday’s Washington Post. In “Ending child marriage helps communities across the developing world,” these two esteemed members of the Elders underline the importance of ending the harmful and dangerous practice through sustained investment by governments and international bodies. Below are some critical points from their statement:
“Because they are young, child brides are relatively powerless in their families and often lack access to health information. This makes them more vulnerable to serious injury and death in childbirth – the leading cause of death in girls in the developing world ages 15 to 19. Child brides are also more likely to experience domestic violence and to live in poverty than women who marry later.
… investing in efforts to prevent child marriage is critical to global development and the achievement of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. We applaud the Senate for passing this forward-looking legislation [the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act] and urge the House of Representatives to follow suit.”
For more from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, check out this video he made for IWHC discussing the power of young people and the importance of sexual and reproductive rights and health.