"Let girls be girls, not brides": UN Secretary-GeneralListen /
One out of every three young women between 20 and 24 was married before the age of 18, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a UN meeting on ending child marriage.
The event took place on the first International Day of the Girl Child, observed on 11 October, which focused on the issue of child marriage.
The Secretary-General said child marriage divorces girls from opportunity. He cited education as one of the best strategies for protecting them against the practice.
"Education is one of the best defenses. My new Education First initiative aims to put millions of children in school. There has been progress on the legal front, new policies and laws. Yet if present trends continue, over the next decade, close to one hundred fifty million girls will be married by their 18th birthday. (Duration: 24″)
The Secretary-General urged governments, civil society and the private sector to promote the rights of girls.
He encouraged them to "let girls be girls, not brides."