Ghana and Article 16
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
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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