UN says more than 140 million girls would become child brides in 2020

The United Nations on Friday said that by 2020 more than 140 million girls would have become child brides globally if the current marriage rates continue. It warned that little progress has been made towards ending the harmful practise.

According to the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, of the 140 million girls, 50 million will be under the age of 15.

Osotimehin, former Director General of Nigeria?s National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) poke at a special session on child marriage at the ongoing UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.

Some of the issues focused on during the session include supporting and enforcing legislation to increase the minimum age of marriage for girls to 18 years.

Others are providing equal access to quality primary and secondary education for girls and boys; mobilising girls, boys, parents and leaders to change practises that discriminate against girls among others.

He said that while 158 countries have set the legal age for marriage at 18 years, laws are rarely enforced since the practise of marrying young children was upheld by tradition and social norms.

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