Multi-Country Analysis of Child Marriage Laws and Policy Instruments in Africa

UN Women .


This paper is informed by the findings and recommendations of the UN Women East and Southern Africa led Multi-Country Analytical Study of Legislation, Policies, Interventions and Cultural Practices on Child Marriage in Africa which undertaken in 2018. The study focused on Africa as a continent but synchronised into 10 study countries (Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, DRC and Morocco). It is undoubtable that child marriage is not only a regional challenge but also a global nightmare that every treaty, convention, protocol or agreement condemn. Succinctly, the Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the International Conference on Population and Development of 1994 are among the leading policy instruments that advance the human rights of children and thus are critical for ending child marriage. In this analysis, the paper underscores the critical role that such legal and policy frameworks perform in transforming toxic norms across the continent and beyond to deliver the human rights of women and girls with a particular focus on country legal frameworks and policies.  In a snapshot, the paper focuses on relevant laws and regulations reported in the study including those that set the minimum age for marriage at 18 years for both/either girls and boys; requirements for birth and marriage registration; sexual violence and domestic violence laws; anti-corruption laws; and family status laws regulating marriage, divorce, custody, and inheritance.

Keywords: Child marriage, Child bride, age of marriage, prevalence, CEDAW, survivors, Bejing Platform for Action, UN Women, policy instruments, women and girls, constitution, customary laws, children, laws, religion, society, family code, criminal code, penal code, legal system, Africa, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, DRC and Morocco.

DOI: 10.7176/JCSD/51-07

Publication date:September 30th 2019

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