A project Combating Forced Marriages through Awareness and Capacity Building of Stakeholders in 40 Villages of Bahawalpur
Forced and early marriages of women and children are a dark chapter of violation of human rights in all its multitudes in Pakistan. The right to marry, including the requirement of free and full consent by each of the intending spouses is clearly established under international human rights law and protected by national laws in many jurisdiction. The customary & traditional practices exacerbated by in effective enforcement of the law, inappropriate policies & procedures, constraint the practical realization of right.
Currently, there is no specific law to prevent forced marriages. Discriminatory family laws & their conservative interpretation limit the remedies available to women regarding divorce or annulment in cases of forced marriages. Forced & Early marriage is multi-dimensional and multifaceted phenomena and it is impossible to draw a stereotypical sketch as per the causes of forced and early marriage. Some of the key motives that have been identified are: poverty, lack of awareness, lack of proper education, religious superstition, peer group or family pressure, attempting to strengthen family links, ensuring land remains within the family, protecting perceived cultural ideals which can often be misguided or out of date, preventing "unsuitable" relationships, assisting claims for residence and citizenship, family honor, and last but not least long-standing family commitments.
Likewise, Child marriage is a violation of human rights, compromising the development of girls and often resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation. Young married girls face onerous domestic burdens, constrained decision-making and reduced life choices. The prevalence & incidence of child marriage are very common in the project area. Women's lack of awareness and their limited capacity to negotiate their rights are very fundamental causes of forced marriage.
There are gaps in the law and practical obstacles to access to and implementation of the law, which severely limit its impact in addressing forced marriage. Procedural limitations also restrict access to remedies. Practical obstacles to accessing and enforcing the law constitute the most significant hurdle to legal redress for victims of forced marriages and those seeking to assist them.
PRWSWO in partnership with USAID Small Grants & Ambassador Fund Program in year 2015 addressed women / children rights and protected them by forced & early marriages through initiating public awareness campaign & capacity building trainings for concerned key stakeholders / duty bearers; ultimately promoting & strengthening the rule of law by addressing harmful customary traditional practices of forced and early marriages of women & children in 40 targeted villages of 5 Union Councils in Tehsil Bahawalpur.