Child Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa

May 30, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

Child marriage is a human rights violation. Several international human rights agreements protect children from child marriage, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the Convention of Eradication of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990). All call for the free and full consent of both parties to marriage, a minimum age of marriage of 18, designation of child marriage as a harmful practice, and protection for the rights of children from all forms of exploitation

Early marriage compromises girls’ development and often results in early pregnancy and social isolation. Child marriage also reinforces the vicious cycle of early marriage, low education, high fertility, and poverty. Setting and enforcing a minimum legal age for marriage is necessary to protect girls, who are more affected than boys by the practice of child marriage. Most countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have laws on the minimum age for marriage, ranging from age 13 in Iran to age 20 in Tunisia for females, and from age 15 in Yemen to age 21 in Algeria for males.

For full article, visit:
http://www.prb.org/Articles/2010/menachildmarriage.aspx


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