60-year-old man marries a 6-year-old girl, and says she was a gift.

60-year-old man marries a 6-year-old girl, and says she was a gift.

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In Afghanistan, a 6-year-old girl was rescued after a horrific case of child marriage involving a man 54 years older than her.

The 60-year-oldMuslim priest claimed the child was a “religious offering” and sent to him as a gift. He claimed the child’s parents were aware of the marriage that took place in a village on the Ghor province of central Afghanistan. But the child’s parents claimed their daughter was kidnapped.

“The girl was given to me as a gift and we were married so I could raise her up” the cleric said.

However, the girl has been rescued and placed in a women’s shelter in Ghor.

“The girl does not speak but repeats only one thing. “I am afraid of this man”.Said Masoom Anwar, the head of the women Affairs department in Ghor.

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The cleric maintained that he married the girl with the consent of the parents and in the presence of 40 people. “After the parents gave their daughter to me, they said ‘you can take her whenever you want’, he said.

To hear that  60-year-old man married a 6-year-old girl is sickening and absurd. It’s ridiculous for a man that age to marry a child so young. Afghan law states that girls can give consent to marry at 16, while boys at 18. For both gender, children may marry before the legally set age with permission of a judge or the child’s father.

Children need education to succeed in life and any form of early marriage can destroy their successful future.

Craco calls on Afghanistan government to do something concerning the increasing rate of child marriages in that country. Afghanistan is ranked the 17th worst country to be a girl or woman according to the United Nation’s Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index. Nearly half of deaths of young women ages 20-24 are related to pregnancy, and largely connected to lackof education, and health complication from sex before fully developing.

We appreciate the fact that this little girl was rescued, but the government should take more drastic steps to combat the ever rising cases of child marriage, by not only rescuing child brides but also prosecuting the pepertrators of such marriages to serve as a detriment to others.

The country should also review its law that allow girls to marry at the age of 16, while boys marry at the age of 18. Children are children, whether boys or girls, both gender should be allowed to attain the age of 18 before marriage.

About the Author

CRACO is an NGO that is committed to making the Child included and visible. We ensure that matters relating to children are not swept under the carpet but brought to the attention of the world, so that necessary actions can be taken to address such matters for the best interest of the the children. We keep you regularly informed of news and stories concerning children and women around the world.

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