Stating that not enough opposition is being put up by the groups working in the area of human rights against India’s refusal to co-sponsor a United Nations initiative to end child marriage, activists have noted that India has yet again let down its daughters by refusing to sign the first-ever global resolution on early and forced marriage of children led by the UN which was supported by 107 countries.

India has more child brides than any nation in the world.

The first-ever U.N. Human Rights Council resolution against the practice of child, early and forced marriages has already been co-sponsored by 107 other countries on multiple continents.

India, however, refused to sponsor the measure stating that the resolution’s definition of early marriage was vague. Although the legal age for marriage in India is 18, its 24 million underage child brides constitute nearly half of all child brides in the world.

Centre for Social Research director Dr. Ranjana Kumari said: “Even countries like Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sierra Leone and Yemen with high rates of child marriage supported this historic resolution. We cannot let this pass and have to put pressure on the Indian government to wake up and take immediate remedial action.”

The resolution as floated by the UN Human Rights Council has stressed the need to include child, early and forced marriage in post-2015 international development agenda and acknowledged the impact of early marriage on the ‘economic, legal, health and social status of women and girls’ as well as ‘the development of the community as a whole’.

Stating that it is extremely disheartening to see that in spite of all efforts by human rights groups, India has refused to sign the resolution, Dr. Kumari said: “The refusal to accept and acknowledge girl children is still deeply embedded in our hearts and our societies even after 65 years of Independence.”

“We must understand that child marriage does not only constitute a single rights violation but it also endangers the survival and well-being of women and girls by exposing them to sexual violence at an early stage, unplanned and frequent pregnancies, a denial of educational opportunities, and isolation from society, ” added Dr. Kumari.

  • U.N. resolution was supported by 107 countries

  • India said definition of early marriage was vague