Tutu calls for end to child marriages in Bihar

February 8th, 2012 - 12:33 am ICT by IANS  

Patna, Feb 7 (IANS) Nobel laureate and anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has expressed concern over the high rate of child marriages in Bihar and urged people, the civil society and the government to work to end the age-old practice.

Tutu led a team of The Elders, a group of world leaders, to Bihar Tuesday to create awareness against child marriages.

He along with former Ireland president and ex-UN high commissioner for human rights Mary Robinson, former Norway prime minister and ex-director general of World Health Organisation Gro Harlem Brundtland and Gandhian social activists Ela Bhatt went to a village near Patna during their day-long visit.

Tutu said that The Elders will launch a campaign against social evils like child marriages in the state. “We have selected to visit Bihar as the state happens to be one of the Indian states with the highest prevalence (69 percent) of marriages among girls under 18,” he said.

Ila Bhatt, founder of India’s Self Employed Women’s Association, said that The Elders will fight against child marriage in Bihar.

Worldwide, an estimated 10 million girls per year get married before they turn 18. That’s 100 million girls over the next decade if current rate continued.

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