A 15-year-old girl in Turkey recently died while giving birth.
The girl, known only as Derya B, died in the Mukti district of Turkey after going into labor sometime during the week of Oct. 9, 2016, reports Metro. The initial diagnosis is that she died of a brain hemorrhage.
Professor Aydan Biri, a gynecologist who spoke with Hurriyet Daily News, said Derya’s death was likely to have been caused by getting pregnant so young, reports The Independent. “It is dangerous for a child bride to get pregnant,” she said. “The pregnancies of children who have not completed their physical development and whose organs have not yet completely developed often end in death.”
Derya reportedly got married when she was 14, although the minimum age for marriage in Turkey is 17, or 16 with special court approval.
Turkey has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe with an estimated 15 percent of girls married before the age of 18, reports the organization Girls Not Brides, which was formed with the goal of ending child marriage in Turkey. The organization says that child marriage in Turkey is a result of the country’s strong patriarchal values, which places importance on the ability of girls to be wives and mothers, but little value on education, while tolerating violence against females in general.
According to UNICEF, child marriage is a worldwide problem, with about one in seven adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) currently married. The agency declares: “Marriage before the age of 18 is a fundamental violation of human rights.” It is also a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the members of the United Nations in 1948.
As UNICEF explains:
Child marriage often compromises a girl’s development by resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupting her schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement and placing her at increased risk of domestic violence. … The right to ‘free and full’ consent to marriage is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says that consent cannot be ‘free and full’ when one of the parties involved is not sufficiently mature to make an informed decision about a life partner.
Sources: Metro, The Independent, Girls Not Brides, UNICEF / Photo credit: UNICEF