Many factors are involved in increasing multidimensional poverty index (MPI) and decreasing human development index (HDI). Economic development can be directly affected by destruction of natural resources and the environment, it is also a major factor in the context of climate change and drought leading to unemployment and internal migration which results in formation of squatters around cites. Therefore, it is essential to consider this issue in policy-making and planning for a sustainable development. The rate of population growth is the other important factor related to MPI and HDI index. Child marriage is a topic to be under consideration of social activists and law-makers.
Child marriage is a social problem which denies and restricts children from achieving their absolute rights and the opportunities for social progression. Recent studies on social problems demonstrate that child marriage has many consequences including reproduction of poverty, educational deprivation, child mortality, addiction, malnutrition, and intensifying destructive values.
The first seminar on child marriage in Iran was held by IAS in 2016. Based on a survey conducted by our volunteers focusing on the problem of child marriage among Afghan and Pakistani refugees, there is a well-bounded relation between poverty, tradition and child marriage. It is also need to be noted that the rate of child marriage is very high and pervasive among Afghans which can be considered as kind of child trade.
The high rate of child marriage in rural areas causes the population living in these areas deprived from having appropriate education system or learning effective skills for employment. Furthermore, infant mortality rate (IMR) which is very high at early ages for mothers, cultural issues, frequent pregnancies, and family economic burdens on boys are the most important factors for childrenĺs drop-out. Early pregnancies that increases HDI index also results in continuation of the cycle of malnutrition for mothers and children.
As a result of economic problems, middle class people are less inclined to marry and therefore, the average of birth rate has fallen compared to previous years among these people. However, due to cultural issues, lack of sufficient awareness and education marriage and birth rate among children at an early age is very high in rural areas, consequently it leads to serious changes in the structure of our countryĺs total population.
Based on Iranĺs civil law marriage for girls above 13 and boys above 15 is a legal action and under this age the marriage can be registered in some circumstances including approval of childĺs guardian with receiving the court advice.
We are suggesting the following reforms in both cultural and legal aspects to address the issue:
1.Increasing the social awareness by holding relevant seminars and publishing appropriate articles about child marriage drawbacks
2.Attempting to improve social and economic welfare for inhabitants of improvised settlements.
3. Increasing international consciousness on the related law for the refugees in the host countries
4.Requesting policy makers and legislators to reassess the regulations in order to remote the legal justifications.