The joint general comment elaborates on the nature of State Party obligations that arise from Article 6 (b) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and Article 21 (2) the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
The government of Malawi should increase efforts to end widespread child and forced marriage, or risk worsening poverty, illiteracy, and preventable maternal deaths in the country.
According to government statistics, half of the girls in Malawi will be married by their 18th birthday, with some as young as age 9 or 10 being forced to marry. Malawi faces many economic challenges, but the rights of girls and women, including the right to education, should not be sacrificed as a result.
This advocacy factsheet is based on Right to Education Initiative report At What Age…are school-children employed, married and taken to court? Trends over time (2011), which provides analysis of legal minimum age for education, marriage, employment and criminal responsibility across 187 countries and raises questions regarding the cross-section of these issues and their effect on the right to education.
In this report, Plan is calling for urgent, concerted and integrated action at local, national and international levels to enable millions of girls to avoid child marriage, stay in school and benefit from a quality education. Plan draws attention to the barriers stopping many girls from realising their right to quality education, which, in turn, increases their risk of marrying too young. Financial barriers and harmful gender norms can drive parents to prioritise sons’ education over that of daughters’ – often on the assumption that girls will marry soon anyway.