HRW wants Bangladesh to remove provision for child marriage

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Dhaka : Bangladesh should remove the provision in the draft law permitting marriage under the age of 18 to work toward a Bangladesh free of child marriage, says a senior official of the Human rights Watch (HRW).

The current law bans marriage before the age of 18 for women and 21 for men with no exception.

Senior Researcher, Women’s Rights Division of the HRW, Heather Barr in an article said the new law would permit marriage of girls below age 18 in “special circumstances, such as accidental or unlawful pregnancy.”

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been celebrated for promoting women’s empowerment in everything from education to maternity leave. But at her request, parliament is considering legislation that would allow child marriage for the first time in decades,” Heather Barr wrote in the article titled ‘Girls’ Rights Hang in the Balance in Bangladesh.”

The Bangladesh government is yet to take sufficient steps to end child marriage, in spite of promises to do so, she claimed though the government depicted progress in the area.

She said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has gained a reputation as a champion of women’s empowerment in part thanks to the work of NGOs. The minister of women and children’s affairs acknowledged this when urging both groups to work together because “the government cannot do everything alone.”

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