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Church, NGOs pressure Indonesia to back UN child marriage ban

Supporters of UN resolution highlight health risks, say practice is a rights violation

Church, NGOs pressure Indonesia to back UN child marriage ban

A young actress plays the role of Giorgia, 10, forced to marry Paolo, 47, during a event in Rome organized by Amnesty International to denounce child marriage, in this Oct. 2016 file photo. (Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP)

July 14, 2017

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The Catholic Church and dozens of NGOs have called on the Indonesian government to support a new U.N. resolution on child marriage and end the practice.

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the resolution on June 22 recognizing the need to stop child and forced marriage, calling them human rights violations.

"The Catholic Church supports the U.N. resolution to protect women and children," Holy Family Father Hibertus Hartana, executive secretary of the Indonesian bishops' Family Commission, told on July 11.

Some 80 NGOs as well as the Indonesian Coalition for Stopping Child Marriage have submitted a petition urging the government to support the resolution.

"Indonesia has the seventh highest number of child marriages in the world so the government should support the resolution," the petition said.

According to UNICEF more than 700 million women currently living around the world were married while they were still children.

Early marriage poses many health risks especially if the child becomes pregnant and gives birth, Father Hartana said.

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