As I read a news piece about a six-year-old girl raped in her school, I must admit my confidence in human rights and human beings is shaken.
On 7 July 2014, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held a General Discussion on the Right to Education for Girls and Women, the aim of which is to commence the Committee’s process of elaborating a “General Recommendation on girls’/women’s right to education.”
This report by GCE and RESULTS shows that millions of girls are being forced out of school because of poverty, child labour, early child marriage, the threat of sexual violence, inadequate and poor-quality schools. The report examines 80 poor countries in terms of the gains they have made in girls’ education.
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 General Recommendation by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women aims to clarify the scope and meaning of Article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which provides ways for States parties to implement domestically the substantive provisions of the Convention.
See paragraphs 13, 21 and 36 for references to education.