To protect their daughters from childmarriages, Afghan families are adopting a strategy: they are transforming their daughters into bacha posh which in Dari, the main language of the country, means “dressed as a boy”. By cutting their hair like boys,camouflaging them in male clothes and changing their names, especially in rural zones, the parents enablegirls togo unobserved in a society that considers them as little more than material goods. However it also happens that many parents, in obedience to tribal traditions, decide to sell them for large sums of money. Recently the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (iwpr) ran a study among parents and elders of the tribal councils of the provinces of Balkh, Faryab and Jawzan from which it emerged that in their communities most girls marry between the ages of 9 and 14, in spite of the fact that the minimum age for marriage is 16. The director of the Balkh Department for Women’s Affairs declared that “Every day a new case of forced child marriage isregistered”. The iwpr revealed that “the local authorities admit that they are unable to prevent the phenomenon”, which not only violates children’s rights but also paves the way to violence against women. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, pregnancy among minors leads to serious risks and the danger of death during childbirth.
St. Peter’s Square
Aug. 18, 2019
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