25 million child marriages averted in last decade: UNICEF
Around 25 million child marriages have been prevented in the past decade, according to new estimates from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The reduction of women married as children amounts to a 15 per cent decrease, but the number who are still being married before reaching their eighteenth birthday still represents approximately one in five.
South Asia has seen the most progress, with a girl’s risk of marrying underage dropping by more than a third, in large part due to advances in India.
UNICEF’s Principal Gender Advisor, Anju Malhotra, said that “when a girl is forced to marry as a child, she faces immediate and lifelong consequences”, adding that her chances of finishing school decrease along with the likelihood of spousal abuse.
“Any reduction is welcome news but we’ve a long way to go,” she said.
The total number of girls married in childhood now stands at about 12 million each year, but to end the practice altogether by 2030 — in line with the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs — 150 million more marriages will need to be stopped, according to estimates.
Lifesaving aid to Eastern Ghouta “cut short” due to escalating violence
The UN and humanitarian partners who delivered lifesaving aid for the first time in months to besieged civilians in Syria’s eastern Ghouta on Monday, were forced to cut their mission short due to “escalating violence”.
Aid workers carried wheat flour for around 27,500 people in the city of Duma, and specialized supplies for malnourished children.
More than 400,000 civilians trapped in the suburb near Damascus have been living under heavy bombardment and experiencing major food, fuel and medical shortages.
More details from UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.
“After nearly nine hours inside, the decision was made to leave for security reasons and to avoid jeopardizing the safety of humanitarian teams on the ground. As a result, 14 of the 46 trucks in the convoy were not able to fully offload critical humanitarian supplies. Of the 14, four were partially unloaded.”
A further aid convoy is due to leave for the enclave on Thursday.
“Ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya continues: senior UN human rights official
The “ethnic cleansing” of mainly Muslim Rohingya in northern Myanmar is continuing, according to UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Andrew Gilmour.
He said it was impossible to “draw any other conclusion”, after speaking first-hand to Rohingya refugees last week, who’ve sought shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh.
Approximately 700,000 have fled their homes in Rakhine state since last August.
The rate of killings and sexual violence has subsided since then, but recently arrived refugees gave the top rights official “credible accounts” of continued killings, rape and torture, led by Myanmar government forces.
Here’s human rights office spokesperson, Rupert Colville, relaying more of Mr. Gilmour’s remarks in Geneva on Tuesday.
“It appears that widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya persists. The nature of the violence has changed from the frenzied blood-letting and mass rape of last year to a lower intensity campaign of terror and forced starvation that seems to be designed to drive the remaining Rohingya from their homes and into Bangladesh.”