Victory: Pakistan province outlaws child marriage | ActionAid UK

With the rights of women and girls at the very heart of what we do at ActionAid, we’re celebrating with our colleagues in ActionAid Pakistan today as the Sindh province declares child marriage illegal - the first province in Pakistan to pass such a law.

The Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act 2013 has been passed unanimously by the Sindh Assembly. It is now against the law and seen as a violation of the rights of children to marry a girl under the age of 18.

Girls at ActionAid's 'Women and Child Friendly Space' in Kashmore, Pakistan
Girls at the 'Women and Child Friendly Space' in Kashmore.

ActionAid in Pakistan has been at the forefront of battling to raise the legal age to marry in Pakistan from 16 to 18. In June 2013, along with 16 other organisations, ActionAid Pakistan launched an ‘Alliance against Marriages’ which has one goal – the legal age for marriage should not be less than 18. So with today’s news — in one province — they are a step closer.

Forced marriage ends a girl’s childhood

We know that forced child marriage deprives girls of their basic rights. Girls are often married against their will and denied access to education. Child marriage ends a girl’s childhood and forces girls into situations which they are neither physically nor emotionally ready for. It is a practice that we must fight globally together.

Of course, there is some way to go but this is a major step in the right direction. We need the help of all of our UK supporters to continue to be able to make a difference to the lives of girls living in some of the world’s poorest countries who are at risk of forced marriage. Please donate now to help girls escape violence and claim their rights.