By Ellie Griffiths
Growing up, children of all ages dream of one day having a magical wedding.
The reality is 39,000 girls under the age of 18 are getting married every day but not at their dream wedding.
Head of Communications at UNICEF Australia, Kate Moore says UNICEF believes child brides are a violation of basic human rights.
“Children should not be married – bride or groom,” said Kate.
“It is a fundamental abuse of their right as a child to be free to play, to be educated, to be free from all forms of abuse, to remain with their family, the right to free expression and to be protected from harmful traditional practices.”
Norway’s first child wedding was held on October 11, where thousands of people had previously been following the lead up to the wedding via the bride, Thea’s wedding blog.
Thea expresses her concerns and excitement about marriage, posting photos of wedding preparations, as well as embracing her 12-year-old self, sharing her love for One Direction.
However, many people did not know this wedding was a protest against child marriage, run by child development organisation Plan Norway, with actors playing the roles of Thea, 12, and Geir, 37, in this mock marriage.
The s0-called ‘wedding’ saw hundreds of people at Jacob’s Church in Oslo, with a further 3.5 million people online, protesting to Stopp Bryllupet – Stop the Wedding.
The stunt was held on the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child, which sought to expose gender oppression experienced by young girls.
“Thea’s Wedding is a reminder to invest in girls, realise their rights as children and strengthen the communities where these girls live to also see the merit of ending child marriage,” said Kate.
Visit Plan Norway for more information.