Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 250 non-governmental organisations committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfil their potential. Every year, an estimated 14 million girls aged under 18 are married worldwide with little or no say in the matter. In the developing world, one in seven girls is married before her 15th birthday and some child brides are as young as eight or nine.
Neither physically nor emotionally ready to become wives and mothers, these girls are at far greater risk of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth, becoming infected with HIV/AIDS and suffering domestic violence. With little access to education and economic opportunities, they and their families are more likely to live in poverty.
Child marriage: What does international law say?
The right to ‘free and full’ consent to a marriage is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) prohibits child marriage.
Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), governments have committed to ensure the overall protection of children and young people aged under 18, however, child marriage and the range of rights implications it has, substantially infringe these protections.
What does Child Marriage mean for Girls?
– High health risk
– Lack of proper education
Child marriage and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Child marriage directly hinders the achievement of 6 of the 8 Millennium Development Goals. Simply put, the international community will not fulfil its commitments to reduce global poverty unless it tackles child marriage.
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How can we end child marriage?
Addressing child marriage is at the heart of Girls Not Brides’ work. Solutions vary according to the circumstances in each community, but we have highlighted some of the effective interventions below.
– Educating and empowering girls
– Supporting young people to become activists for change
– Mobilising and educating communities
– Bringing men and traditional leaders on board
– Enacting and enforcing laws that set a legal minimum age for marriage
– Introducing incentives
– Raising awareness in the media