Human Rights Watch, the New York headquartered organization that became the first among its kind to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, says that child marriages are rampant in Guyana, and accounts for somewhere between 20 to 30 percent of all marriages in the country annually.

The organization went on to say that such a percentage has certainly rivaled the numbers in Africa and Asia where the prevalence of child marriages had seemed to be more rampant.

In the July 2017 document, it identified Guyana as one of the few countries in the Americas where girls as young as 14 years are forced into marriages with adults, often with their parents have consented.

However, the report explained that the practice is deeply harmful to children everywhere since married children would often drop out of school, and become locked in poverty as a result. It further added that married girls often become pregnant soon after marriage which results in early pregnancy, and can involve serious health risks for pregnant girls and their babies, while forming a platform for other social problems such as domestic violence.

The organization has since made a call for child marriages to be discontinued and has labeled it as an abusive practice, while children rights observers have branded it as a resistance by countries like Guyana to the United Nations charter to eliminate child marriage, early marriage, and forced marriage.

Several other Latin American and South American countries including Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, and El Salvador were also named in the report which was compiled Ms. Heather Barr, Senior Researcher at the Women’s Rights Division, and entitled “Time to Get Serious about Child Marriage in Latin America”.