United Nations General Assembly adopts resolution on “child, early and forced marriage”

Friday 22nd Nov 2013

On 21 November, over 100 states co-sponsored a resolution calling for a panel discussion on child, early and forced marriage and the post-2015 development agenda at the UN General Assembly next year.

The panel discussion will be a chance for the international community to reflect on the historic lack of attention to adolescent girls in development efforts, demonstrated by the continued existence of child marriage around the world. It will be an opportunity to discuss how it can be addressed in whatever development framework succeeds the Millennium Development Goals, which are due to expire in 2015.

The resolution follows the adoption in September of a resolution on child, early and forced marriage at the Human Rights Council, which stressed the need to include the issue in the post-2015 agenda and called for a report on preventing and eliminating the practice.

This latest resolution puts the issue of child, early and forced marriage on the agenda of the General Assembly in 2014, and offers a valuable opportunity to mobilise political commitments to address the issue at the highest levels over the coming year.

The resolution also calls on the UN Secretary-General to transmit the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on child early and forced marriage, and the summary report of the panel discussion at the Human Rights Council on the issue, to the UN General Assembly. This is significant as it will help ensure that child, early and forced marriage is treated as a human rights issue and that the two processes at the HRC and UNGA complement each other.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for submissions on child, early and forced marriage to its report by 15 December. The report is likely to set the stage for discussions at both the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly over the coming year, so let’s ensure we make our voices heard!

Find out how to contribute here. http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/

The full list of 109 countries who co-sponsored the resolution:

Afghanistan; Albania; Andorra; Argentina; Armenia; Australia; Austria; Belgium; Benin; Bolivia (Plurinational State of); Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cabo Verde; Canada; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; Congo ;Costa Rica; Croatia; Cuba; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Greece; Grenada; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Haïti; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kiribati; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Liberia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Madagascar; Malawi; Maldives; Mali; Malta; Monaco; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Norway; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Poland; Portugal; Republic of Korea; Republic of Moldova; Romania; Rwanda; San Marino; Sao Tome and Principe; Senegal; Serbia; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Slovakia; Slovenia; South Sudan; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Thailand; the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; United States of America; United Republic of Tanzania; Vanuatu; Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of); Zambia

The UN is not renowned for getting things done, but I do hope that these initiatives are successful in thrashing out some solutions so that laments such as that seen in the Kath Walker poem A ‘Child Wife’ are a relic of the past.

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