On 21 June 2018 in Nepal, Renuka Kumari Choudhary (left and seated), Rakesh Kumar Shah (right and seated) and other adolescents in Gujara Municipality of Rautahat District perform a skit on child marriage as part of UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme on Ending Child Marriage. The Global Programme, funded by the governments of Canada, the European Union the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, supports 12 countries - Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia in ending child marriage and ensuring the rights of girls are upheld. (Photo: UNICEF)
KATHMANDU, June 7: Nepal is one of the top 10 countries worldwide that has a prevalence of child marriage among boys, the United Nations Children's Fund said on Friday.
In its first-ever in-depth analysis of child grooms, one in 10 men aged between 20 and 24 were married as children in Nepal, according to a press statement issued by the UNICEF.
Using data from 82 countries, the study has revealed that child marriage among boys is prevalent across a range of countries around the world, spanning sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, and East Asia and the Pacific, read the press release.
“Marriage steals childhood,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said adding “Child grooms are forced to take on adult responsibilities for which they may not be ready. Early marriage brings early fatherhood, and with it added pressure to provide for a family, cutting short education and job opportunities.”
According to the data, the Central African Republic has the highest prevalence of child marriage among males (28 percent), followed by Nicaragua (19 percent) and Madagascar (13 percent). Nepal ranks tenth highest and is the only country in South Asia with a significant prevalence of child marriages among both boys and girls.
The new estimates bring the total number of child brides and child grooms to 765 million. Girls remain disproportionately affected, with 1 in 5 young women aged 20 to 24 years old married before their 18th birthday, compared to 1 in 30 young men.
While the prevalence, causes and impact of child marriage among girls have been extensively studied, little research exists on child marriage among boys, the press statement said.
"However, the children most at risk of child marriage come from the poorest households, live in rural areas, and have little to no education," the UNICEF said in the statement.
“As we mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we need to remember that marrying boys and girls off while they are still children runs counter to the rights enshrined in the Convention,” said Fore.“Through further research, investment and empowerment, we can end this violation.”