“This stance against child marriage must be seen as an absolute. Much like the universal condemnation of child soldiers, so too we must recognise that child marriage can never be justified.”
The following Letter to the Editor on child marriage, in response to recent remarks by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, was submitted to Wired868 by Dr Emir Crowne, senior lecturer and barrister:
Child marriage is indefensible. The recent remarks, and overt politicisation, of the issue by the Honourable Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is shameful—as is her apparent flip-flopping on the issue.
Religious and even cultural arguments in support of child marriage must all fail. The rights of children need to prevail over any perverted sense of moral righteousness. This stance against child marriage must be seen as an absolute.
Much like the universal condemnation of child soldiers, so too we must recognise that child marriage can never be justified.
In the past, religious and cultural arguments have been made that child soldiers are perfectly acceptable. Such children are seen as doing ‘God’s work’. If they die in battle, they will certainly be rewarded in the afterlife. Nonsense.
The international community has recognised the idiocy of such rationale, and has sought to protect such children. (Notably, most child soldiers are male).
Yet, when it comes to protecting children, and young girls in particular, from the exploitative marriage desires of (much) older men—yes, they’re all men—certain religious and political leaders have taken to defending the practice. This must stop.
Even if religion or culture were to be weighed against the rights of children in some sort of perverse constitutional balancing act, the rights of the children must always win.
That there is even a “debate” about this is, quite simply, sad.