East Kalimantan is striving to eliminate child marriages

East Kalimantan is striving to eliminate child marriages

Head of the East Kalimantan Population, Women's Empowerment, and Child Protection Office Halda Arsyad. ANTARA/HO/

Samarinda, E Kalimantan (ANTARA) - East Kalimantan has been striving to eliminate underage marriages as the province's child marriage rate is recorded at 13.9 percent or higher than that of Indonesia's national rate which currently stands at 11.54 percent, a local government official said.

"There are now 953 underage marriage cases in East Kalimantan," Head of the East Kalimantan Population, Women's Empowerment, and Child Protection Office Halda Arsyad said here Sunday.

Arsyad said the child marriages could still be found in society due to such factors as the early marriage-related culture, parents' will and shamefulness, poverty, and pregnancy before marriage.

In dealing with this challenging reality, the provincial government keeps working with various related agencies through prevention and education programs to make parents and community members aware of the importance of stopping the underage marriages, she said.

A collaborative endeavor to save girls from the early marriage was needed by consistently enforcing the 12-year compulsory education program as instructed by the East Kalimantan governor to all heads of districts and city mayors in the province, she added.

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The United Nations observes that the underage marriages remain found in different parts of the world.

The Office of the United Nations Secretary General's Envoy on Youth noted that there are 39,000 child marriages everyday, and more than 140 million girls are predicted to get married between 2011 and 2020.

"If current trends continue, the number of girls and women married as children will reach nearly 1 billion by 2030 – 1 billion childhoods lost, 1 billion futures blighted," the office revealed in a press statement circulated in its official website.

According to the United Nations, the child marriage violates girls and women's rights because they will more likely suffer school dropouts, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS contractions, and complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

The child marriage is also believed by the United Nations to have led girls and women to economic difficulties and "intergenerational cycles of poverty".

Being aware of the threats posed by this early marriage, President Joko Widodo had ever issued a Presidential Letter assigning four ministers to discuss along with the House of Representatives (DPR) the revision of the Law Number 1 of 1974 on marriage in September last year.

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