Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) has stressed that child marriage compromises children's right to grow healthy and improve their life quality.

"Child marriage is a threat to children's rights fulfillment. Not only on (their) physique and psyche, child marriage also increases rates of poverty, dropouts, and stunting prevalence," Head of the West Sulawesi Ready to Marry, Ready To be Pregnant Electronic System (Elsimil) Unit of the BKKBN Dudi Fahdiansyah said in a statement received here on Saturday.

People are actually aware of reproductive organ health, he noted.

"However, child marriages are still taking place because there are still parents out there who think that marrying off their daughters is a prestigious act among the people, just like in West Sulawesi," he added.

According to data from the province's Religious Court, in 2021, there were 262 requests for marriage dispensations, which were approved, he said. In 2022, the figure went up to 264, he pointed out.

He said that currently, West Sulawesi ranks 8th in child marriage prevalence nationally, with the percentage of such cases recorded at 11.7 percent in 2022, higher than the national rate of 8.06 percent.

"For addressing that issue, collaboration is required for establishing partnerships in programs, between family planning personnel, religious figures, and the dispatched medical staff," he added.

The head of West Sulawesi's Women's Empowerment, Child Protection, Population Control, and Family Planning Office, Jamila, said that child marriage is an iceberg phenomenon, with only a few cases detected and reported.

This is because there is yet to be a regulation that outlines clear and firm sanctions on the matter, hence, the issue is still rampant, she added.

"Child marriage results in many issues like increased maternal and children mortality rate, risk of giving birth to stunted children, domestic violence, and increased rate of school dropouts," she informed.

To curb child marriage cases, her administration has formed a unit to address some human resource issues, ranging from stunting, dropouts, extreme poverty, child marriage, as well as inflation, she said.

Moreover, Regional Regulation Number 1 of 2020 about child protection has also been issued, she added and called for the need to inform district leaders to create derivative regulations down to the village level.

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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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