The representatives of civil soceity and the women's rights activists have said that if the minimum age for marrige of girls is reduced, it will destroy their futrue.
This comment came at a press conference on " Government's recently approved draft of the "Early Marriage Prevention Act, 2014: Remove discrimination on child and ensure their rights" organised by Bangladesh Mahila Parishad at the National Press Club on Tuesday.
Ayesha Khanam, President of the Bangladesh Mahila Parishad( BMP) who presided over the press conference, observed that when girls enter into an early or forced marriages, their families usually remove them from schooling and their role then becomes confined to domestic work and children bearing only.
She also mentioned that according to the Children's Act 2013, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child in line with the guidance provided under the CRC. So if the law is enacted with girls' marriageable
age being 16, it will legalize child marriage.
Defining it as a repeated cycle, she said that daughters of young and uneducated mothers are more likely to drop out of school and married off early.
Maleka Banu, General Secretary of BMP demanded the proposed age to be 18 for girls and 21 for boys.
Maksuda Akhter Laily, a BMP official, said, "According to the Child Act 2013, everyone below 18 is a child. The marriageable age is 21 for boys and 18 for girls."
She also added that a male aged 20 is not a child but also not eligible for marriage as per the Bangladeshi law.
"So to remove all confusion, we opt to use the term 'minor' instead of child", she proposed further.
Meanwhile, National Children's Task Force also organised a workshop opposing the proposed Child Marriage Prevention Law, 2013 at Plan Bangladesh head office located at Gulshan in the city on Tuesday.
Twenty four children from NCTF social media wing took part in the workshop and prepared a draft proposal to submit to the Prime Minister within a short time. Besides, the youth group has initiated an online campaign to get feedback from the community regarding this issue.
"We think the decision will be a curse for young girls and boys. NCTF social media wants to raise voices against this through online voting and campaigning on social media by hashtagging" NCTF social media member Doli Akhter told The Daily Observer.
Anyone can vote online at nctfbd.com/not16 or hashtag to not16 at Facebook.
Plan Bangladesh Child Rights Advisor Syed Matlubur Rashid, Manager Syeda Husne Kadery, Save the Children Senior Manager Mir Rezaul Karim were guest at the event.