UWI Gender Institute calls on Parliamentarians to end child marriage in T&T
As the debate on the Miscellaneous Provisions (Marriage) Bill 2016 continues in the Senate, the IGDS urged Parliamentarians to prioritize the life and livelihood options of girls, and protection of minors, in their contributions and in their support of the Bill.
The IGDS said it advocates for legal and social policy which is grounded in sound understanding of adolescent sexuality adding that there are inalienable facts by which all sides of debate must agree upon. It said these include the fact that the current laws of Trinidad & Tobago allow for the marriage of minors, with no minimum age set; Global commitments compel us as a nation to defend the rights of all our citizenry and girls are disproportionately affected by the current laws regarding marriage.
The IGDS stated that the debate on this bill serves as a historic opportunity for law makers in Trinidad and Tobago to put into Hansard the commitment of all parties entrusted with the responsibility to uphold the rights of minors, particularly that of minor girls.
It said this moment must be one in which the nation rallies around the priority to protect our girls to grow, develop, and achieve their fullest potential.
The statement further noted that the IGDS remains committed to the ideals of eliminating all forms of harmful gender norms and obstacles to gender equality, by ending discrimination against women and the girl child in keeping with its mission to advance social justice and promote gender-responsive human development in the wider society.
The group is also calling for research to be conducted to determine how child marriage interrupts education, constrains personal development and agency, and legally sanctions the exposure of children to sexual harm and exploitation.