Archive for the ‘Sex Education’ Category

Fashion industry’s shame

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019
The Human Rights Watch launched a report detailing cases of sexual harassment in garment factories and urged apparel companies to address the issue head on.

THE global #MeToo movement has put a spotlight on sexual harassment and violence in various industries, including the film and music industries. Is it now time for the fashion industry to address these issues within their supply chains?

Coinciding with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Forum on Due Diligence in the Garment and Footwear Sector, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) launched a report detailing cases of sexual harassment in garment factories and urged apparel companies to address the issue head on.

“Women shouldn’t have to choose between dignity and jobs, and the constant struggle to keep a job and put food on the plate means women often feel compelled to swallow their dignity and normalise sexual harassment at work,” Aruna Kashyap from HRW’s Women’s Rights Division told IPS.

Around the world, millions of women are employed by the US$2.4 trillion (RM9.8 trillion) apparel industry. But because of their gender, they face numerous challenges including sexual and verbal harassment.

Roja, a 30-year-old factory worker in India, told HRW that her supervisor stalked and called her asking for sexual favours. When Roja filed a complaint, the factory’s administration told her that such harassment was “normal”.

In Pakistan, women received threats that they would be fired after complaining to human resources about cases of sexual harassment.

In the same factory, managers also threatened to transfer workers who refused overtime work to divisions with more men where the risk of harassment was even higher.

HRW noted that verbal abuse is also common across countries.

For example, in Myanmar managers verbally abused women after they asked for clean toilets especially when they were menstruating while supervisors in India asked inappropriate questions about workers’ sex lives when they asked for breaks to relieve their menstrual cramps.

Others are too afraid to file formal complaints, including a group of 11 women workers from a southern Indian factory who wrote to a local union stating: “We have to hear unbearable abuses at work…we are tired of hearing such abuses…we have come here to the city from another place to earn money. We too have self-respect and dignity… we want justice, is it our fault that we are poor?”

While countries such as India and Pakistan do have laws around sexual harassment at work, they are often poorly enforced.

Additionally, 59 countries do not have specific legal remedies for sexual harassment in employment.

In the absence of regulation, companies conduct social audits to monitor conditions in factories. However, such audits often fail to adequately address and report cases of sexual harassment.

For instance, auditors reportedly conducted a combination of group and individual interviews on-site. By conducting interviews on-site, workers do not have full confidentiality and as workers are generally randomly selected for interviews, management knows or can find out who is participating.

Group interviews also make it difficult for workers to raise sexual harassment concerns and thus create an unconducive environment to learn about women’s experiences. Additionally, of the 50 audit reports analysed, HRW found that a majority did not note any abuse.

“Companies that rely on social audits to fix sexual harassment are exposing their own ignorance of the limitations of these audit tools and the range of measures needed to address the problems,” Kashyap said.

She highlighted the need for companies to design specialised programmes with the participation of women workers and to “look inwards and correct their own practices”.

For instance, Kashyap pointed to the higher incidence of verbal abuse during peak seasons. Brands should therefore look into their purchasing practices to ensure they do not contribute to such abuses in their factories.

HRW has also been behind a global push for a new binding International Labour Organisation (ILO) treaty to prevent and respond to harassment and violence at work.

“If there is a binding ILO Convention on violence and harassment at work, governments will have to develop law and bolster their implementation of it.

“There will be more clearly defined responsibilities vis-a-vis governments and employers, with more government resources dedicated to developing and enforcing such laws than what currently exists today,” Kashyap said.

She noted the benefits for both workers and companies, and urged corporations to help lead the charge on the new initiative which is expected to come to fruition during the ILO Conference in June.

By THARANGA YAKUPITIYAGE .

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/02/461776/fashion-industrys-shame

More to sexuality education

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

Countries in the region increasingly acknowledge the importance of equipping young people with the knowledge, attitudes and skills to make responsible choices in their lives

PICTURE this. A nine-year-old in Malaysia, reading about a character named Amira in a school textbook, is told to take three steps to protect the “modesty of her genitals” and keep social ostracisation and family shame at bay. Imagine. The societal pressure, responsibility and burden on girls to conform. Imagine the victim blaming should they “fail” to do so.

The social media outcry in Malaysia was swift, with the story carried by global news outlets. The textbook in question has not been recalled, however, and it will take much more than a Band-Aid – the Education Ministry has put a sticker to cover the graphic – to enable all children and young people in Malaysia to experience healthy, equitable and respectful relationships as they transition to adulthood.

According to a BBC report dated Jan 16, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching referred to a failure of quality control, pointing out that that “the general understanding on sex education is still low”.

Comprehensive andaccurate

Now picture this. A syllabus for sexuality education in Malaysia that is comprehensive, scientifically accurate; age and developmentally appropriate, taking into account the changing needs and capabilities of a child and young person as they grow; based on gender equality and a human rights approach; and culturally relevant.

The revised International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE) released by Unesco in 2018 was developed to assist education, health and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of school-based and out-of-school comprehensive sexuality education programmes and materials.

Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is defined by the guidance as a “curriculum-based process of teaching and learning about the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality.

CSE aims to equip children and young people with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will empower them to: realise their health, well-being and dignity; develop respectful social and sexual relationships; consider how their choices affect their own well-being and that of others; and, understand and ensure the protection of their rights throughout their lives.”

A 2016 review of available evidence on the effectiveness of CSE concludes that sexuality education has positive effects, including increasing knowledge about different aspects of sexuality, behaviours and risks of pregnancy or HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Strong evidence also concludes that sexuality education improves attitudes related to sexual and reproductive health and increases communication with parents about sex and relationships. Studies also show that CSE is effective in preventing and reducing early and unintended pregnancies in different contexts.

Provided in or out of schools, CSE does not increase sexual activity, sexual risk-taking behaviour or STI/HIV infection rates, a common concern expressed by education stakeholders.

Equally important is the finding that abstinence-only programmes have been found to be ineffective in delaying sexual initiation, reducing the frequency of sex or reducing the number of sexual partners. Due to the gender transformative approach of CSE, the evolving understanding of CSE recognises that this kind of education can also contribute to wider outcomes such as gender equitable attitudes, confidence and self-identity.

Countries in the region increasingly acknowledge the importance of equipping young people with the knowledge, attitudes and skills to make responsible choices in their lives, particularly in contexts where they are exposed to a range of information sources, which may not always be accurate or age appropriate. A recent UNESCO campaign on CSE “A foundation for life and love” captures the voices of young people and their families from around the world, reflecting on their experiences of sexuality education, and what they wish they had learned.

In a 2011 study by the Centre for General Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), an overwhelming majority of respondents were of the view that sex education had not been taught in Malaysian schools. In another 2011 study by Universiti Malaya’s Department of Social Administration and Justice on the effectiveness of a school-based sexual abuse prevention curriculum, only 40 percent of nine-year-old respondents knew what to do in instances of an adult stranger touching them in an inappropriate manner. This strongly indicates that the sexuality education curriculum needs to provide the knowledge, attitudes and skills to enable children to protect themselves.

Malaysia is committed to the 2030 Agenda and its global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that calls for action to leave no one behind, and for the realisation of human rights and gender equality for all.

Data from 2017 from the Unesco Institute for Statistics (UIS) shows that Malaysia held the distinction of being part of a handful of countries from the region that reported on SDG indicator 4.7.2, which captures data on the proportion of primary schools that provide life skills-based HIV and sexuality education. Malaysia reported 100% coverage in primary schools.

This provides Malaysia with an opportunity to take a leadership role, to mobilise political commitment and to promote meaningful youth engagement, to review, strengthen and scale-up existing sexuality education programmes and materials in line with the latest evidence. This is essential to provide all children and young people in Malaysia with a foundation for life and love, in a world where gender-based violence, gender inequality, early and unintended pregnancies, and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) still pose serious risks to their health and well-being.

The writer is the Regional Advisor (HIV and Health), Section for Inclusive Quality Education at Unesco Bangkok.

Note: An immediate revision has been ordered on a Year Three textbook critics say told girls they would be ostracised and bring disrepute to their families if they did not protect their modesty.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said she met with the department in charge of national school textbooks following outrage over the content in the Pendidikan Jasmani dan Kesihatan textbook.

By Kabir Singh
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/01/27/more-to-sexuality-education/#ZEkG2tE4reeu3mhu.99

Women’s Ministry to discuss on how to implement sex education in schools

Friday, January 11th, 2019
(File pix) Hannah Yeoh said records and statistics show that nine per cent of the total number of students in remove classes nationwide are sexually-active. NSTP/LUQMAN HAKIM ZUBIR
By Safeek Affendy Razali - January 10, 2019 @ 7:44pm

KUALA LUMPUR: The Women, Family and Community Ministry will engage the Education Ministry soon on how to create a sex education subject in schools.

Women, Family and Community Minister Hannah Yeoh said records and statistics show that nine per cent of the total number of students in remove classes nationwide are sexually-active.

She said she will personally meet Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching in the near future to facilitate the talks.

“For now, all quarters should extend their cooperation and share ideas on how to tackle the problem of sexual activity among students.

“To me, the figure that nine per cent of remove class students are sexually-active is a large one,” she said at the closing of a child abuse forum at the police college in Kuala Lumpur.

She said the meeting between her ministry and the Education Ministry could lead to a solution in ensuring that sex education can be implemented at all school levels.

She said failure to educate children on sex and leaving them to learn for themselves through social media could possibly ruin a generation.

“In this modern age, those as young as 13 already know about sex but they need to be given correct information.

“As such, sex education is important in our bid to deliver the correct message to our children,” she said.

Meanwhile, Yeoh said studies showed that mothers form the majority of abusers in child abuse cases in Malaysia, with 7,564 cases recorded nationwide between 2013 and last June.

The number of cases where fathers were the abusers numbered 5,012.

“This is a shocking finding as mothers are supposedly the ones closes to their children. Although existing laws are enough to tackle child abuse, prevention is the best approach to reduce the statistics,” she said.

Yeoh said the ministry is working with various agencies and non-governmental organisations to gather ideas on the best way to tackle the problem.

By Safeek Affendy Razali

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/government-public-policy/2019/01/449209/womens-ministry-discuss-how-implement-sex-education

Parents can teach sex education

Sunday, October 28th, 2018
(File pix) As parents, we need to talk to our children to ensure that they get the right information. Archive image for illustration purposes only.

RECENTLY, when asked to comment on cases of abandoned babies, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh touched on the importance of providing sex education to children. She said sex education should start from young, as early as 4 years old and by parents.

Over the last two decades, sex education has been taboo for the young, and parents avoid discussing it. There are several reasons for this:

FIRST, the negative perception that people have of the word “sex”; and,

SECOND, the misunderstanding about the meaning and content of sex education.

Many equate sex education with teaching children how to have sex.

Avoiding sex discussions with children will not help as they are discussing it with their friends. Information about sex and pornographic videos are available.

As parents, we need to talk to our children to ensure that they get the right information.

The important thing to remember is that it must be the right information about sex education that is taught, for example, the reproductive system and how babies are conceived.

Children should be taught about modesty and how to protect their bodies and why.

As Yeoh says, a 4-year-old child needs to know the difference between a “good” and “bad” touch to prevent them from becoming victims of sexual crimes, which normally are committed by adults related to them.

Dr Abdullah Nasih Ulwan, an Islamic scholar who specialises in education and tarbiyah (nurturing), in his book, Child Education in Islam, wrote that parents are responsible for teaching their children faith education, ethical education, physical education, mental education, psychological education, social education and sexual education.

Clearly, one of the parental responsibilities is to teach sex education to children. But how many parents are aware of this? How many know the content of sex education from an Islamic perspective? Do they know how to impart the knowledge to children?

In Islam, sex education is about teaching children from an early age what is lawful and unlawful for them when they reach puberty so that they are not driven by desires or led by debauchery.

Sex education in Islam encompasses the teaching of manners in asking permission to enter the parents’ bedroom; the teaching of manners in looking at the opposite sex; keeping children away from objects that can arouse them sexually; educating children on hukm , or legal ruling governing puberty and maturity; explaining to them Islam’s stand on marriage; teaching children about abstinence in situations where they cannot get married; and talking to children about sex .

Dr Ulwan says parents are the best persons to impart sex knowledge to children.

Moreover, Islam has outlined that the teaching be done in phases, that is, according to the children’s ages. It is a continuous process starting from preschool.

In the United States, for example, the involvement of parents in providing sex education to children began more than a decade ago through parent intervention programmes. These programmes have reduced risky sexual behaviours in adolescents.

The programmes have restored the function of teaching sex education to parents. Perhaps this could be emulated in our education system? Have sex education for parents, engage them in discussions and forums to raise awareness ab out the subject

By Siti Fatimah Abdul Rahman .

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2018/10/425056/parents-can-teach-sex-education

Sabah to combat child marriage

Friday, July 6th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah agrees with the federal government’s proposal to increase the marrying age of girls from 16 to 18 in a bid to combat child marriage.

For starters, Sabah school counsellors will be equipped in August this year with a module to deter child marriages State Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wong said this proposal which came following the controversial marriage between an 11-year-old girl and a 41-year-old man, was necessary.

He said the Sabah Women’s Advisory Council has drawn up an interactive module to all counsellors in schools to educate students on the negative impact of child marriage.

“Schools can make use of this module (which was launched in March this year), to create more awareness among students on the issue,” Wong said.

“The module will be used by any facilitator with the aim of decreasing or avoiding more underage girls getting married.”

He hopes this module could help to reduce child marriage in the country.

“Programmes relating to this issue is expected to start in August with the collaboration with the Sabah Education Department,” he said yesterday.

Wong said this when winding up debates at the state legislative assembly sitting here. Earlier in the sitting, he also said that the state government will have discussions with the federal government on ways to reduce medicine costs in Sabah.

Wong said he supports Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s aim to increase the minimum marriage age from 16 to 18.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister had said that laws should be amended to make it illegal for any girl or boy to get married before they turned 18.

“My ministry agrees completely with the statement by the Women, Family and Community Development Minister to amend Islamic family and civil law and set the minimum age at 18 for girls in the country,” Wong said.

His ministry was formerly known as the Community Development and Consumer Affairs Ministry but was changed when Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over Putrajaya after the May 9 polls.

Child marriages are in the spotlight again after it was reported that a 41-year-old imam from Gua Musang, Kelantan took an 11-year-old Thai girl as his third wife.

Dr Wan Azizah had proposed that the minimum age of marriage for girls in the country be increased during the coming Parliament sitting.

The current minimum age of marriage is 16 for Muslim girls and 18 for Muslim boys, with exceptions made to marry at a much younger age as long as consent is obtained from the Islamic courts.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/25016

Marriage of 11-year-old girl illegal – Dr Wan Azizah

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The marriage between an 11-year-old girl and a 41-year-old man in Kelantan is illegal, according to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

She said this was because the marriage had not received the consent of the Syariah court as the girl was under the minimum legal age for marriage.

“The marriage is not legal and they must be separated,” she told a press conference after officiating an Aidilfitri open house with 2,000 asnaf orphans organised by Insaf Malaysia at the Setiawangsa Mini Stadium here on Sunday.

Present were Setiawangsa Member of Parliament Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Insaf Malaysia president Ishak Abdul Kadir.

According to the Islamic Family Law Enactment which applies in all states, the minimum legal age for marriage is 18 for a male and 16 for a female. Those under the legal minimum age will only be permitted for marriage if they get the consent of the Syariah court and their parents.

Child marriage issue once again came into the spotlight after the news of a 41-year-old man who took a girl 30 years younger than him as his third wife went viral on social media, drawing flak from various parties since Friday.

Initial investigations by the Kelantan Welfare Department found that the marriage took place in Golok, Thailand and the girl’s parents were said to be Thai nationals.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said her ministry’s officials were still unable to locate the groom.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/24859

Ban child marriage in Malaysia, NGOs tell Govt.

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Children’s rights groups and activists from all over the country are calling for a ban on child marriage in Malaysia.

The Child Rights Civil Society Organisations Group (CSCG) said in a statement Sunday that child marriage was totally unacceptable anywhere in the world.

“No exceptions. It is not in the best interests of a child whose rights to health, education and protection are likely to be jeopardised as the child’s focus shifts from completing school to domestic duties and parenthood,” said the group.

It urged the government to take immediate action to ban child marriage by setting the legal minimum age for marriage at 18, and to fulfil what was promised in the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto on the issue.

“We hope that Deputy Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) will meet with child rights NGOs to address critical child protection issues,” it said.

This came following the recent marriage involving an 11-year-old girl to a 41-year-old Malaysian man, who already has two wives and six children in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

The CSCG said such a situation was not acceptable and against the basic principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to which Malaysia is a signatory.

The group said as a party, Malaysia has to take effective and appropriate measures to abolish traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.

“We ask the Pakatan Harapan Government to urgently do a complete review on child development and protection support systems which has more often than not failed our children.

“We urge the Government to work with and listen to NGOs as we exist to complement and support the Government to address serious gaps in the implementation of policies and laws for the protection of our children, both citizens and non-citizens,” the group said.

The group members comprise Sabah Women’s Action-Resources Group (SAWO), PACOS Trust, Sabah (Partners of Community Organisation), Childline Malaysia, Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Association of Women Lawyers (AWL), Yayasan Chow Kit, ARAM Foundation, Malaysian Advocates for Child Health (MACH), PUAKPayung , Educational, Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF), Geutanyoe Foundation and Projek Layang Layang.

By Stephanie Lee.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/07/01/ban-child-marriage-in-malaysia-government-urged/

Suhakam concerned that child marriage legalises paedophilia

Sunday, July 1st, 2018
PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is troubled that “possible paedophilia activity” can be legalised through child marriage.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail also expressed his concern that child marriage will encourage sexual violence against children.

“Suhakam is concerned that at present, religious justifications supported by law may be used to provide cover for paedophiles and child sexual predators who marry the children/victims,” said Razali in a statement on Sunday (July 1).

According to international standards, child marriage is defined as any marriage carried out below the age of 18.

In Malaysia, it is still legal for children below the age of 18 to be married under Islamic and civil laws.

Non-Muslim girls can marry as early as 16, provided they get the permission of the Chief Minister or Mentri Besar.

For Muslims, the minimum age of marriage is 16 for girls and 18 for boys. But exceptions can be made for girls or boys to marry at a younger age as long as they obtain the Islamic courts’ consent.

Customary law sets the minimum age to get married for girls at 16 and 18 for boys. A parent or legal guardian may give their written consent for underage marriages.

“Suhakam does not think enough has been done to end child marriages in Malaysia and believes zero tolerance of child marriage must be enforced at every root of society,” said Razali.
Razali, on behalf of Suhakam, called on Syariah court judges and the authorities to stop child marriages.

“(They) must be held accountable for perpetuating this egregious practice,” he said.

Razali said that there is no justification to child marriage and the rights of the child must be protected.

“Suhakam also calls on the new government to take a principled position on this issue and to keep to its election promise to all Malaysians to set the legal minimum age of marriage to 18 for all persons,” he said.
Ending child marriage by 2030 is among the targets set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that Malaysia has committed itself to.

“In the meantime, Suhakam recommends that the government and state religious bodies including the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) take active steps to inform the public about the detriments associated with underage marriages,” said Razali.

Razali also urged the Women, Children and Community Development Ministry to respond “more diligently” to the issue.
Razali’s comments come after news of a 41-year-old man marrying an 11-year-old girl.

The father of six took the girl as his third wife after he went to Golok, a border town in Narathiwat, southern Thailand, two weeks ago to have the marriage solemnised.

End sex education stigma

Sunday, July 1st, 2018
Thayalan Paliandy with the baby who was thrown out from the second floor of a building in Kajang. PIC COURTESY OF THAYALAN PALIANDY

MALAYSIANS this past week must have been shocked to hear or read about the newborn baby who was thrown out of a building at Jalan Hentian 4, Hentian Kajang, by his mother.

The boy was reported to have been thrown out the window of a toilet on the second floor of the building, landing in an alley behind a restaurant, with a thud so loud that several people heard it. First on the scene was a man named Thayalan Paliandy, or Ajay, a hero no less important than the bravest of warriors, at least to the baby.

Rushed to hospital, the baby survived, though he is reported to still be in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Ajay has been visiting the baby every day for at least an hour and, along with several others touched by the baby’s plight or perhaps horrified by his mother’s actions, has been donating things like diapers and other essentials. Whether the baby survives is still up in the air.

It is horrifying indeed that in this day and age, when we are supposed to be living in times more enlightened than ages gone by, that such incidents still occur. It is, after all, a time when numerous methods of giving away an unwanted baby exist. We have a number of baby hatches available, besides orphanages, which have been around for hundreds of years.

For this is not an isolated case, as some may think. At the New Straits Times, and no doubt other media organisations, many stories of babies being abandoned, most of whom were found dead, have landed on our desks. Most do not see print, due to a number of reasons. It is an appalling number, to say the least.

When you think about the number of childless couples that are out there, such loss of life — innocent, precious lives at that — seems unthinkable, unnecessary and unforgivable.

Why kill the child when there are alternatives like hatches and orphanages? And when you realise that a child is basically made up of the DNA of his or her mother and father, then killing that child is basically killing a part of yourself. How does one stomach that?

There are those who advocate sex education in schools to stem the tide of unwanted teen pregnancies. Not just the basic science lesson here, which basically merely touches on male and female reproductive organs. No, they advocate sex education in its entirety. Education that covers a holistic approach.

This is something that is important. Our children need to be educated not just about their organs, but how babies are made and what are the responsibilities that go with it. And if you really think our teens know how babies are made, then you are wrong, as there have been surveys which show the depth, or lack thereof, of sexual understanding teens in Malaysia have, with some thinking that kissing can lead directly to one getting pregnant, though for sure there are parents out there who would prefer to let their daughters think that so they don’t even engage in kissing.

The problem is the stigma that is attached to sex education. Those against such education believe it will lead to promiscuity and heightened sexual awareness and activity. Maybe so, as part of sex education would be how to have responsible sex. But better that than more babies being abandoned.

There is a need for such stigma to be done away with, though of course this is easier said than done. It is something entrenched in Malaysian society and may take years, if not decades, to get rid of. But get rid of it we must.

Another reason why this stigma needs to be done away with is that women and girls who do find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy will then find themselves not having to deal with the stress of dealing with the stigma attached to it. They may choose to bring up the child on their own, or leave him or her with an orphanage or a baby hatch.

Let’s face it, with or without sex education, there will always be teens who find themselves unable to control their primal urges, and accidents do happen. So the most important thing, in the long term, would be for Malaysia and Malay-sians to drop the stigma attached to sex and sex education.

By LESLIE ANDRES.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2018/07/386021/end-sex-education-stigma

NGOs call for child marriage to be banned, criminalised

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) is calling for a ban on child marriage and for new laws to criminalise the act.

Its president, Professor Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh, said early marriages are a violation of human rights and the Convention on the Rights of a Child, of which Malaysia was a signatory.

“It is not sufficient to have laws allowing child marriage repealed. There must be laws that are put in place to prohibit and criminalise child marriage.

“Studies have shown that child marriage has devastating consequences especially for girls. Sadly, the problem is nothing new in Malaysia,” he said.

He said in 2010, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry had revealed that there were close to 15,000 Malaysian girls in child marriages.

“The new government must take the initiative to come up with an action plan to protect Malaysian children especially girls from child marriage.

The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) is calling for a ban on child marriage and for new laws to criminalise the act. Pic by NSTP/ source from Social Media.

“The Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto included the introduction of a new law which sets 18 as the minimum age of marriage.

He urged the government to fulfil the pledge through the tabling of a law to eliminate child marriages at the coming parliament session.

“We also urge all Malaysians to contact their respective members of parliament to seek their commitment and support for the elimination of child marriages in Malaysia,” he added.

Meanwhile, Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) also called for immediate measures to be taken by the government to condemn child marriage through a legislative action.

“It’s appalling that this case has surfaced barely days after the ‘Girls Not Brides’ international conference held here, calling for a global ban on child marriage.

“This must be done by raising the marriageable age for all Malaysians, whether male or female, to 18-years-old, without exception.”

Muslim-majority countries that have raised the minimum age of marriage include Algeria (19 for both men and women), Bangladesh (18 for women and 21 for men), Morocco (18 for both men and women) and Turkey (which raised the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18 for women).

The marriage of an 11-year-old girl as the third wife of a 41-year-old Malaysian man on June 18 had went viral on social media, causing an uproar among Malaysians

The online posting by the man’s second wife was accompanied by several pictures with a caption that read: “Selamat pengantin baru suamiku (congratulations on your wedding, my husband). Suami 41, Maduku 11 tahun (My husband 41, his wife 11-years-old).”

By AUDREY VIJAINDREN.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/07/386083/ngos-call-child-marriage-be-banned-criminalised