UN Human Rights Council has adopted its third resolution on child, early and forced marriage. The resolution calls on UN Member States to strengthen and accelerate action to address child marriage and makes important new contributions to the global discourse on child marriage by theming the resolution around the consequences of child marriage. This resolution helps build on the global momentum to address child marriage and is important in maintaining international pressure on member states to implement their commitments to address child marriage.
Child, early and forced marriage is a global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions, and ethnicities and affects 12 million girls every year. 31% of girls in Cameroon are married before their 18th birthday and 10% are married before the age of 15. Child marriage violates girls’ rights to health, education, and opportunity. It exposes girls to violence throughout their lives and traps them in a cycle of poverty, and it undermines efforts to improve health, education and address poverty, which is critical to building a sustainable, prosperous future.
Supporting the resolution demonstrates Cameroon’s commitment to addressing the issue of child marriage and acknowledging the harmful impact of child marriage on girls, the community and the nation as a whole. This is the third resolution on child, early and forced marriage to go under review at the United Nations Human Rights Council. It mainly builds on agreed language from previous resolutions, as well as the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions, in recognizing child marriage as a human rights and development issue as well as highlighting gender inequality as a root cause. It also adds new emphasis on the far-reaching consequences of child marriage. Ending child marriage is included as a specific target under the Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 5.3. However, we also know that half of the SDGs will not be achieved without significant progress on child marriage, including those related to poverty, health, education, nutrition, food security, economic growth and reduction of inequality, and gender inequality. If we are to make child marriage a thing of the past, progress must be accelerated.
This resolution on child, early and forced marriage reviewed at the United Nations Human Rights Council brought to lamp light the challenges faced by adolescent girls arisk and in conflicts regions. As a partnering organisation working with Girls Not Bride we are committed to raise our voices against early and forced marriage. We are so delighted to part of the action and calling on our government to co-sponsor the resolution. We formed part of the group of 100 Girls Not Brides’ members who called on their governments to act. 77 countries in total co-sponsored the resolution, showing that when we work together, we can make a difference. Unfortunately, Cameroon was not one of the co-sponsors countries despite our advocacy. So frustrating to know. But we will keep the struggle in ending child marriage in Cameroon.
You can read more about the resolution and find out if your country was one of the co-sponsors here: https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/human-rights-council-adopts…/