Saturday, October 13, 2007

Afghanistan's baby brides - 16 % marry before age of 15

Sunam in her wedding dress - she is 3 years old.

This breaks my heart and makes me sick at the same time.

Little Sunam is among the 16 per cent of Afghan children married before they reach 15.

Her dad Parvez promised Sunam to her seven-year-old cousin Nieem. It was a gift to the lad’s mum, Parvez’s sister, who wanted a daughter.

The children, from Kabul, will probably marry when they are 14 or 15. Their aunt Najiba says the match is “unbreakable” and they will not be able to divorce under tribe traditions.

The minimum legal age of marriage in Afghanistan is 16 for girls and 18 for boys. But many wed earlier, as a bride can fetch twice the average yearly salary for her family.
Human rights groups are calling for the practice to end. Manizha Naderi, of Women for Afghan Women, said: “It’s barbaric.”