Launch of a national campaign against child marriage

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Launching a nationwide campaign against child marriage in Rajasthan, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi has called on the nation to take collective action against child marriage to end social evil.

The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) will spearhead the campaign. As part of the campaign, 70,000 women and girls led people in lighting lamps, torchlight processions in about 10,000 villages (6,015 villages by KSCF and the rest by government and other agencies) over of 500 districts in 26 states.

The campaign was launched on Sunday with another Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Leymah Gbowee, at a public meeting in the village of Navrangpura in Virat Nagar, Rajasthan, more than 2 hours north of Jaipur.

Highlighting the plight of survivors of child marriage, Satyarthi said, “Child marriage is a violation of human rights and dignity, which unfortunately is still accepted by society. This social evil propels an endless list of crimes against children, especially against our daughters. A few weeks ago, I called for child marriage in India to be free. That spark ignited the flames of 70,000 women changemakers, proof that millions of women felt suffocated by this age-old oppressive societal custom.

“I support the government’s proposal to raise the age of marriage for girls from 18 to 21. I call on religious leaders to speak up and ensure that all those performing marriages, even at the village level, do not perpetuate this crime against children. I call on all caterers, decorators, banquet hall owners, groups and others not to provide their services for these weddings and not to engage in this criminal act. For those ending child marriage, you are not alone. I am with you. As your brother, I will protect and support you in every way possible. I will not leave you in this fight,” he said.

The ‘Child Marriage Free India’ campaign has three main goals: to ensure strict enforcement of the law; strengthen the participation of children and women and ensure their empowerment by providing them with free education up to the age of 18; and ensuring the safety of children from sexual exploitation. Gbowee said: “Child marriage is an appalling practice that exists in the world. We must put an end to this violation of human rights. Our collective humanity demands it.

Government agencies including the Railway Protection Force, Department of Women and Child Development in 14 states, state child welfare authorities, state legal services authorities, anganwadis and district administration of several state governments have joined the campaign, KSCF said. Many people from a variety of backgrounds, including women leaders, health professionals, lawyers, teachers, academics, rights activists and students, joined the torchlight procession and lit torches. across the country.

According to the 2011 census, over 12 million child marriages were reported in the country.

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