With over 100 child brides identified in Norway and Sweden over the past number of months, girls’ rights organisation, Plan International Ireland, is calling on the Irish Government to be vigilant, and prepared, to deal with the threat of child marriage.
Many of the 1.3 million refugees, who now call Europe home, have been left broke financially following the expensive journey from their homelands. Like countless generations before, parents are being forced to choose between early marriages for their daughters or running out of money to feed, clothe and shelter their whole families.
David Dalton, CEO of Plan International Ireland says:
The 100 child brides identified to date is potentially only the tip of the ice-berg. In reality, with 442,000 children arriving into Europe in the past 12 months, there are thousands of child-brides living with their ‘husbands’ across the continent.
Certain EU governments and local authorities, in Norway and Sweden, have already issued directives that couples, involving underage girls should be separated. However, this isn’t being applied universally and many brides are being allowed to remain with their husbands. Plan International Ireland believes that the Irish Government must be ready to intervene if child marriages are identified here in Ireland.
“Nothing is more important to us than protecting the rights of children to live healthy, happy and safe lives,” added Dalton.
Dalton concluded by saying:
While Plan International Ireland is unequivocal in its support of those fleeing persecution and danger, the rights of girls to not be forced into an unequal and dangerous marriage must be protected.