Early Marriage Looks Like Our Only Option, Say Displaced Congolese Teens


Human Wrongs Watch

By Vania Turner and Andreas Kirchhof in Kalemie, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Extreme poverty among the displaced, who are not getting enough humanitarian aid due to funding gaps, is forcing some parents to marry off their children.

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Boniface and Anuarite are among the many displaced Congolese teens compelled to marry young. © UNHCR

“Life has stolen my childhood. I shouldn’t be married now,” says Boniface, who fled his village and found refuge here in the capital of Tanganyika province.

“I feel like an adult now [that] I’m someone’s husband. My mind is focused on providing. I can’t just sit and play like a kid. I’m only thinking about money.”

Like so many other teenagers here, Anuarite and Boniface say that getting married seemed like the only way to ensure their survival.

“Life is an ordeal. Especially finding food,” explains Anuarite. “I don’t support early marriages. If I can, I’ll make sure my children don’t have to get married early.”

Years of ethnic fighting in Tanganyika province have displaced hundreds of thousands of people – most of them children. Faced with extreme poverty, hunger and disease, hundreds of families are compelling their children to marry young, in hopes of easing immediate financial burdens.

But these forced unions often perpetuate the cycle of poverty for future generations.

UNHCR is raising awareness of the risks associated with early marriage, including early, unwanted and often dangerous pregnancies among minors, as well as limited educational opportunities, especially for girls.

*Vania Turner and Andreas Kirchhof in Kalemie’s article was published in UNHCR , the UN Refugee Agency. Go to ORIGINAL

Read also:

Villages ‘Reduced to Ash’ amid ‘Barbaric Violence’ in DR Congo – UN Refugee Agency Reports

‘Crimes against Humanity,’ ‘War Crimes’ and Risk of New Ethnic Violence in DR Congo – Human Rights Experts 

DR Congo: 400,000 Children Now ‘at Risk of Death’ in Kasai Region from Malnutrition — UNICEF

‘Is Safety and a Small Plot of Land Too Much for DR Congo’s Beleaguered People to Hope for?’

‘Horrific’ Violence in DR Congo Drives Thousands into Uganda

DR Congo: Over 13 Million People in Need of Urgent Humanitarian Assistance

Read more HERE.

2018 Human Wrongs Watch

 

 

 

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