On 22 November, 2014 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to end early, child and forced marriages.
The Resolution urges States to: “enact, enforce and uphold laws and policies aimed at preventing and ending child, early and forced marriage and protecting those at risk, and ensure that marriage is entered into only with the informed, free and full consent of the intending spouse.”
According to UN statistics approximately 15 million girls under the age of 18 are married every year, and there are now more than 700 million women who were married before their 18th birthday.
The Resolution highlights that child, early and forced marriage undermines women’s and girls’ right to education:
“Child, early and forced marriage disproportionally affects girls who have received little or no formal education, and is itself a significant obstacle to educational opportunities for girls and young women, in particular girls who are forced to drop out of school owing to marriage and/or childbirth, and (…) educational opportunities are directly related to women’s and girls’ empowerment, employment, and economic opportunities, and their active participation in economic, social and cultural development, governance and decision-making” (PP13).
The Resolution further recognises education as one of the most effective ways to prevent and end child, early and forced marriage and calls upon States to promote and protect women’s and girls’ right to education:
The General Assembly, “Calls upon States to promote and protect women and girls’ right to education through an enhanced emphasis on quality education, including catch-up and literacy education for those who did not receive formal education, while recognising that education is one of the most effective ways to prevent and end child, early and forced marriage and to allow for married women and girls to make more informed choices about their lives” (OP2ter).
General Assembly Resolution on Early, Child and Forced Marriage (A/C.3/69/L.23)
Media Advisory (Girls Not Brides)
United Nations members resolve to end child marriage (Reuters)
For further information, see the following Right to Education Project pages:
· Women’s and girls’ right to education
· Comparative table on minimum age legislation, including minimum age of marriage for all States parties reporting to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.