Taiwan News
2016.10.10
Girls head human rights event
In 2011, the UN declared Oct. 11 International Day of the Girl Child. Since 2013, Taiwan has observed the day with events focused on issues facing Asian girls
Oct 10, 2016.
Staff writer, with CNA


Hadiqa Bashir of Pakistan nearly became a child bride when she was nine years old, but now she is devoted to putting an end to the practice, she said at a human rights event in Taipei.

Bashir, 14, was one of four Asian Girls’ Human Rights ambassadors who attended a news conference held by the Garden of Hope Foundation yesterday to mark Taiwan Girls’ Day, which has been observed on Oct. 11 since 2013.

Bashir, a recipient of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards, has launched a movement to fight for the rights of girls and has organized demonstrations to protest child marriage and all forms of violence against women and children.

At yesterday’s event, Bashir told the story of a classmate who was forced into marriage when she was seven years old.

The classmate did not return to school after the wedding, but came to a farewell party in her honor not long after and looked very pale with tears falling down her face, Bashir said.

It was then that they realized her husband had beaten her with a wire, Bashir said.

It was intended that Bashir be married to a taxi driver when she was nine years old, but she protested and eventually won the support of her uncle in resisting the planned union.

She continued her education and decided to publicly advocate an end to child marriage, she said.

Other event ambassadors, Inessa Arshakyan from Armenia, Zolzaya Ganbold from Mongolia and Peng Liang-yu (彭亮瑜) from Taiwan, also shared stories about fighting for girls’ rights.

Arshakyan, 17, is an advocate for biological conservation, environmental protection and helping girls from socially disadvantaged families.

Arshakyan said that in Armenia selective abortions are common if the fetus is female, because traditionally men own the house and pass it down to their sons.
Arshakyan said she is lucky not only because her mother chose to have her, but also supports her cause.

She said she hopes that the media can raise awareness of gender issues, such as selective abortion and child marriage.

Tomorrow is Taiwan Girls’ Day. The day is also the International Day of the Girl Child, which was declared by the UN in 2011.


Source: TAIPEI TIMES
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2016/10/10/2003656873
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