When Sonita was 16, her parents tried to marry her off. They thought that marriage would provide stability and support for her. They also thought it would lessen the financial strain they were under.
In countries facing humanitarian crises around the world – such as Syria, Yemen, the Central African Republic or Myanmar – child marriage is on the rise.
“Emergencies and humanitarian crises make all the factors that drive child marriage: poverty, insecurity, lack of access to education”
To help stop this trend, Sonita says we must listen to adolescent girls themselves and design programmes that support them and their families.
We must “take the issue of child marriage seriously because it hurts girls, boys and families, and it violates their basic rights.”
Sonita’s message was heard in Geneva, Switzerland, at a panel discussion on child marriage in humanitarian settings. The event took place ahead of the 35th session of the Human Rights Council (6-23 June), which was consider inga resolution on child, early and forced marriage.