Plan Belgique launched the second wave of its campaign against child marriage for the International day of the girl on Sunday. They have released a film where actress Marie Gillain, an ambassador for the Non-governmental organisation for the last eight years, forces her own 11 year daughter to marry. “The aim is to bring attention to the suffering of 15 million girls all over the world. And force the government to act”, the non-governmental organisation says.
“Every minute, 27 underage girls are married in the world, that’s close to one every two seconds. They are often forced in to it. These marriages steal the childhoods of 15 million girls every year, destroy their chance of an education and expose them to major health risks”, according to the non-governmental organisation. It is also an abuse of children’s rights.
“The Belgian cooperation’s fourteen partner countries are all affected by child marriage. It affects 30% of girls in 10 of them, and 50% in the two new partner countries, Guinea and Burkina Faso. Niger has the highest rate, with 76% of girls marrying underage”, explains Anthony Van Overschelde, in charge of advocating Plan Belgique.
The fight against child marriage was started last year, through a political note to the Minister in charge of Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo. It is also supported by a parliamentary resolution. The non-governmental organisation said it’s hoping for “concrete actions designed to fight the trend long-term”.
It calls on the government “not to wait any longer, and act now to reduce child marriage in partner countries. These include encouraging them to put multi-sectoral action plans (Education, Health, Justice, Home Affairs etc…) against child marriages in place”.