UN launches regional programme to eradicate child marriage

Date: Monday, November 30, 2015

Photo: © Curt Carnemark / World Bank
Photo: © Curt Carnemark / World Bank

In Panama City on 24 November, on occasion of the beginning of the 16 days of activism and the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the regional offices of UN Women, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization, presented a new joint programme for the eradication of child marriage.

Child marriage is a cause for concern in Latin America and the Caribbean, where 18 per cent of young women between the ages of 15 and 29—almost 1 in every 5—are married or in an informal union. Child marriage constitutes a violation of girls’ human rights and it is a harmful practice for their health, education and integrity, in addition to impacting their future development and increasing the risk of suffering violence.

From left to right: Alejandra Corao (UNAIDS), José Bergua (UNICEF), Lara Blanco (UN WOMEN), Martín Santiago (UN Resident Coordinator – Panama), Cosme Moreno (Ministry of Social Development – Panama), and Lola Valladares (UNDPA). Photo: UN Women/Agustín Aguilar.
From left to right: Alejandra Corao (UNAIDS), José Bergua (UNICEF), Lara Blanco (UN WOMEN), Martín Santiago (UN Resident Coordinator – Panama), Cosme Moreno (Ministry of Social Development – Panama), and Lola Valladares (UNDPA). Photo: UN Women/Agustín Aguilar.

This regional initiative promotes changes in the laws to eliminate all the legal exceptions to the minimum marriage age. Even though all countries in the region have established18 years as the minimum marriage age for both sexes within their respective legislations, several allow child marriage with parental consent or the consent of a legal representative or judicial authority.The objective of the new joint programme is to rid the region of early marriage within two years.

Read the full story on UN Women’s regional website for Latin America and the Caribbean