National conference to discuss end of child marriages in India

National conference to discuss end of child marriages in India
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New Delhi: With an aim to formulate a national action plan to end child marriages in India, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will be organising two-day ‘National Conference on Child Marriage’ from Wednesday.

According to NHRC, the main objective of the conference is to revisit the issue of child marriage from a human rights perspective at the national level by consulting experts from the government and non-government organizations, civil society organizations and other forums to make a call for a national action plan on ending child marriage and set a time target to achieve this.

In India, according to the NFHS-3 and NFHS-4 data, there is a significant decline in the actual percentage of child marriage both for females (20.6%) and males (12%). The national average of child marriage for females is down from 47.4% to 26.8% and for males from 32.3% to 20.3%.

“However, it becomes imperative to focus on analyzing and addressing the percentage in which the practice still persists for various reasons despite a decades-old law banning girls under the age of 18 – and boys under 21 – from marrying. This has been a longstanding problem that has lead to widespread exploitation of young girls, as well as stealing their childhood,” NHRC said in a media statement.

The conference will be divided into five sessions, which will examine/review existing legal and policy frameworks and their application, identify gaps and distil out strategic interventions to end child marriage.

Members of the civil society, government organisations, various commissions and state representatives will take part in the deliberations.