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Forced marriages banned in Bamyan

AT News

KABUL: Hamida Danish, a student at grade seventh of a secondary school was forcibly married to a man older than her while she was only 14 years old. The underage marriage made it too difficult for her to live a happy life as she was not quite out of her childhood enjoyments. She dreamt of taking higher education at a university and making a good life of her own.

Hamida lives in Yakawlang district of central Bamiyan province.

As she and her husband were struggling to overcome the challenges posed due to early marriage, the couple has been separated. Hamid now has a-two years old, for which she worried not to face a similar destiny.

“We have lived for six years and always engage in disputes and arguments,” she said. “Now we have a lot of problems, I came to my father’s house and my husband took custody of my daughter.”

Hamida is among hundreds of girls in Afghanistan who are the victims of force and underage marriages. However most of them are treated with less respect and rights, and are placed in caves to share their tough stories of life.

To prevent the women being victim of the cultural taboos, the civil rights activists and religious clerics in Yakawalang decided to ban the underage and forced marriages. A number of women also were part of the decision makers.

Head of the district Ulemas (clerics), Rauf Salehi called forced marriages in contrast with the Islamic regulations. “As the girl doesn’t know how to make decisions in underage marriage, so the Ulemas should not conclude the marriage,” he added. He said that the level of force and underage marriages has drawn down by 50 percent.

Head of Bamyan women rights commission, Zakia Rezaye praised the decision made by the Ulemas council to prevent the forced marriages of underage girls. “To omit the traditional taboos especially force marriage, which is part of the violence against women, such steps are vital important.” She said that the women rights commission paid tremendous efforts to attract the attention of Ulemas in regards.

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