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Significant increase in child marriages in Darfur

December 17 - 2013 KHARTOUM

A study of the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW) in Sudan reported that there has been a significant increase in the number of child marriages in the country during the past years. It also revealed that child marriage causes a loss of between 60 and 70 percent of girls' opportunities for education in Darfur.

The Sudanese study, funded by Unicef, which is part of a global research in order to understand the social norms about child marriage, was conducted in six states, East Darfur, West Darfur, Central Darfur, South Darfur, Gedaref and Khartoum, in the period from July 2012 to January 2013.

The study confirms that the economic difficulties, the increased poverty, and the lack of education are among the main reasons for the increase of child marriage cases. Another major cause is the misconception of the term “sutra” among Sudanese families: in order to avoid an unmarried girl becoming pregnant, the parents marry their daughters “as early as possible”.

According to the study the phenomenon causes a loss of learning opportunities for girls by 71 percent in East Darfur state, 61 percent in Khartoum state and 58 percent in South Darfur state. The NCCW recommended the preparation of a plan to address the issues of child marriage in its various aspects in Sudan, increasing opportunities of education for girls, and promote awareness and enforcement of the Sudanese Children's Act of 2010.

File photo by Reem Abbas/IPSnews

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