Acabar con el matrimonio infantil

LONDRES – Antes de la celebración de la cumbre de las Naciones Unidas en la que se examinarán los avances logrados con miras a la consecución de los objetivos de desarrollo del Milenio, se ha centrado gran parte de la atención en los sectores en los que los resultados han sido más decepcionantes. En esa lista ocupa un lugar destacado el fracaso a la hora de mejorar la salud materna en los países más pobres.

Se ha hablado mucho de los compromisos de los países ricos con vistas a aumentar los fondos y de si los gobiernos de los países en desarrollo han utilizado eficazmente los recursos. Lamentablemente, se ha prestado poca atención al matrimonio infantil y sus dañinas consecuencias para la salud de millones de niñas y mujeres.

De hecho, existen pruebas fehacientes de que el matrimonio infantil ha sido un poderoso freno a los avances hacia la consecución de no menos de seis de los ocho objetivos. Las esperanzas mundiales de reducir la mortalidad maternoinfantil, luchar contra el VIH/SIDA y lograr la enseñanza primaria universal resultan defraudadas por el hecho de que una de cada siete niñas del mundo en desarrollo –y se trata de una mayoría abrumadora de niñas las que sufren ese destino– están casadas antes de cumplir los 15 años de edad. El matrimonio infantil también frustra los propósitos de eliminar la pobreza extrema y fomentar la igualdad entre los sexos.

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