Child marriage is not and should not be considered an inevitability in conflict situations. Rather, it is an extreme response driven for many by desperation and vulnerability, and the collective failure to prioritise and secure child protection systems by both national and international actors. A rapid and systematic shift is required to prevent not only a lost generation of children but a fundamental breakdown of entire communities. Children are Syria’s greatest hope for recovery and resilience, but they are being crushed by the consequences of conflict and the disproportionate burden of vulnerability placed upon them.
Syria is one of the most dangerous places to be a child. Ten years into the conflict, millions of children are entering their second decade of life in the thick of war, violence, death and displacement. The situation in the country’s northwest region is dire. The escalation of violence at the start of 2020 highlights the disproportionate cost children have borne in this conflict. Nearly 600,000 were forced to flee their homes since December 2019. Pressed up against the Turkish border, they have nowhere to go. Children are pushed into extreme and inhumane living conditions in crowded camps and makeshift tents. Some have even sought shelter in the open under trees during a harsh and freezing winter. Children in northwest Syria have faced grave violations and daily risks for years, and it is hard to find a new way to draw international attention to their situation. For the 10th year running, the situation for children in Syria has gotten worse, not better. This in itself is a stain on our collective moral obligation to uphold their rights.
This report looks at the most insidious price children must pay as a result of war: forced and early marriage. Their childhood and their future is being stolen.
Read more here.