Pass the bill to prohibit child marriage in the Philippines. #ENDChildMarriage

Victory

Pass the bill to prohibit child marriage in the Philippines. #ENDChildMarriage

This petition made change with 17,036 supporters!
Child Rights Network Philippines started this petition to House of Representatives and

Initial list of signatories here: bit.ly/endchildmarriagesignatories

We, the undersigned, are a coalition of children and women's rights advocates and organizations, Bangsamoro children and youth groups, civil society organizations, government agencies, legislators, lawyers, health professionals, artists, and concerned individuals who support the passage of a national law that will prohibit the facilitation and solemnization of child marriage in the Philippines.

Child marriage is still allowed in Muslim and indigenous commmunities in the Philippines and the economic insecurity brought by the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation. Child marriage is continued to be seen as a survival strategy by families in places where the practice is still prevalent and where poverty is deeply rooted. It is also driven by strong societal pressure to put “family honor” above children’s health and development. Some of the girl child survivors of sexual violence are married off to their perpetrators to avoid ridicule and family shame.

Here are 7 more reasons why we should #ENDChildMarriage:

1. The Philippines ranks 12th globally in the absolute number of child marriages. 1 in 6 Filipino girls are married before they turn 18.

Reference: 2017 Philippine National Demographic and Health Survey

2. Child marriage has grave health and development impacts especially on girls. It increases the likelihood of early and risky pregnancy, maternal and infant deaths, and  acquiring sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive health disorders. It forces girls to give up their education and dreams. It increases the likelihood for girls to become victims of domestic violence and abuse. 

References: World Health Organization, 2017 Philippine National Demographic and Health Survey

3. Child marriage forces boys to deal with early fatherhood. Although girls are disproportionately affected by child marriage, boys who are married off face economic pressure to provide for their newly-formed families. They are less likely to be educated in reproductive health and family planning, which results in having more children than the family size commensurate with their income. Studies have shown that households headed by minors lead to intergenerational poverty.

References: UNICEF, BMC International Health and Human Rights

4. Child marriage has serious implications on the economic growth of the entire country. Because the practice of child marriage negatively affects the educational attainment of a country’s citizens, it was found that a core set of 15 countries have lost an estimated $26 billion dollars in earnings and productivity because of the prevalence of this practice. Income is significantly lost with child malnutrition, infant and maternal deaths, and low-paying jobs, which are all direct consequences of child marriage. 

Reference: UNFPA

5. Child marriage is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls. Various human rights instruments mandate State Parties to uphold the rights of women and girls. International commitments such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women categorize child marriage as a harmful practice that needs to be prohibited.

6. Child marriage is outlawed even in countries with significant Muslim population such as Tanzania, Malawi, and Indonesia. Child marriage is universally recognized as a form of abuse and global efforts are underway to prohibit the practice of child marriage everywhere. The Grand Mufti from Egypt certified the fatwa on model family in Islam, which recommends that the age of marriage must not be based on puberty alone, but also on mental maturity. In fact, this fatwa recommends that the age of marriage for boys should at least be 20, and for girls, at least 18. Efforts are being planned to look at the Philippines’ Code of Muslim Personal Laws, which allows the marriage of a girl child at the age of puberty or at the onset of the first menstruation, and see how the Code can also serve to protect the rights of children.

7. Children and youth in the Bangsamoro no longer want child marriage to continue. Children and youth groups, such as the Maguindanao Alliance of Youth Against Child, Early, and Forced Marriage, LINDING Ko Kalombayan, and the multisectoral and nationwide #GirlDefenders Alliance, have organized and are calling to end the practice of child marriage and all forms of violence against women and children.

Child marriage MUST end now! The best interest of children—such as the fulfilment of their right to health and development—needs to be prioritized and must outweigh harmful cultural norms and traditions. The consequences of child marriage are too devastating and the costs are too high.

Join us in urging our legislators to enact a national law that declares the facilitation and solemnization of child marriage as public crimes.

Sign the petition with us!

Initial list of signatories here: bit.ly/endchildmarriagesignatories

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This petition made change with 17,036 supporters!

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