“No woman or girl can fully realize her fundamental human rights if she is forced or coerced into marriage.”
– Meera Shah, Global Advocacy Adviser at the Center for Reproductive Rights
Recently the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) reaffirmed its commitment to eliminating child, early and forced marriage globally with a new resolution that calls on states to strengthen laws and policies to protect women and girls. The resolution calls on all member states to enact and enforce laws requiring a minimum age for marriage and ensure access to justice for women and girls who are at risk or have been subjected to this harmful practice. It also urges states to respect, promote, and protect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all women and those girls subjected to child, early and forced marriage.
Over 100 countries sponsored the resolution which identifies gender inequality among the root causes of child, early and forced marriage. We are thrilled! This is the second resolution from the UNGA calling on governments to take substantive legal and policy measures to prevent and eradicate child, early, and forced marriage. It follows the 2015 global commitment to stop child, early, and forced marriage as part of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and a Human Rights Council resolution in 2015.
The resolution highlights the importance of implementing policies at both the international and regional levels to end the illegal practice of child marriage, and notes the adoption of the Regional Action Plan to End Child Marriage in South Asia and the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage. Both initiatives recognize child marriage as a regional human rights concern and declaring the eradication of the practice a regional priority. The resolution also calls on states to promote and protect the human rights of all women and girls, including their right to education by ensuring access to schooling for pregnant or married girls.
As Meera Shah stated when this was announced, “The United Nations must now ensure that these global commitments are put into practice. States must prioritize the human rights of all women and girls, and work at all levels to eradicate child marriage once and for all.” We must because we can….and we will.
Take Action Challenge
Be sure to follow Girls Not Brides. They are optimistic that we are getting closer to ending child marriage.
Read this article and share it if you think child marriage should be outlawed everywhere! As it states, there is still much work ahead if we want to see a better future for the 15 million girls married every year. It is only by working in partnership that we will be able to achieve our collective vision: a world where girls can be girls, not brides.