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Ghana and Article 16
A Triangle of Partnership and Solidarity

Article 16 of the Human Rights Declaration Bill, also known as The Article of Marriage is in some ways being abused in the country at present .
The Declaration is in three parts.
The first part states that, “Men and women of full age without limitation due to race nationality or religion have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and its dissolution ‘’. Due to some religious and traditional rules and beliefs, especially in the rural areas, very young girls of school going age are betrothed to old rich men or in worse cases they are married off before they reach the lawful age of marriage which is 18. In such marriages also, the men have total authority over the women. This situation in itself goes contrary to the Declaration and puts the security of women at risk.
Another violation of this article is seen in the betrothal of females at birth which is even against their right to choose marriage partners. Some parents also demand too much from suitors of their daughters. This puts the suitors off and their rights to marriage are indirectly abused. This ends up in parents marrying their daughters off to rich old men who treat these women as acquired property.
There is also some kind of discrimination among rival tribes or ethnic groups. This sometimes stems from ancient occurrences, for example wars and disputes. They use such excuses to prevent inter-marriages between the ethnic groups. Marriages may not only be tribal bias but also religious and racial bias. Though such situations are uncommon in the urban centers, it still exists in the rural areas where majority of the people live.
Individuals with the rights of the citizens at heart are trying to do away with such behaviors and practices. A bill has been passed by parliament making the lawful marriage age 18 years. This law will help stop the marrying off of young girls before they reach the legal marriage age.

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