Global Parliamentary Declaration to End Child, Early and Forced Marriage

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The international community has pledged to end child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) as expressed in the recent Resolution on this issue adopted at the UN General Assembly in December 2014. As democratically-elected Members of Parliament from around the world, we join this pledge to support the inclusion of a strong target to end child, early and forced marriage in the post-2015 development framework and commit to ensure its implementation in our countries. 

We are deeply concerned that child, early and forced marriage is a violation of human rights and a development challenge that prevents approximately 15 million girls every year, and their countries, from achieving their potential.

Furthermore, we note with dismay that the practice has impeded the achievement of current Millennium Development Goals, as it perpetuates cycles of poverty, undermines efforts to reduce the numbers of women and children dying in childbirth and infancy, and holds back girls from attending school and contributing to their countries’ economic development and prosperity.

2015 is a defining moment as current negotiations for a post-2015 development framework will determine the international agenda and its priorities for the next fifteen years. As Parliamentarians, we choose this opportunity to rally around a concrete target on child, early and forced marriage not only as a way to reduce violence against women and girls, but also to spur progress towards a whole range of associated health, economic and educational goals.

To achieve a life of dignity for all and leave no one behind, as UN Secretary General’s synthesis report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasizes, the practice of child, early and forced marriage must be ended everywhere.

As Parliamentarians, it is our duty to empower, protect and promote the human rights of all individuals in our countries, especially those most vulnerable. Therefore, we raise our voices and commit:

As leaders, to use our platform and visibility to call on our Foreign Ministers to include a strong target to end child, early and forced marriage in the post-2015 development framework and to raise awareness in our constituencies and, with our colleagues in Parliament, of the value of the girl child, the importance of keeping girls in school, including pregnant and young mothers, and alternatives to child, early and forced marriage that benefit the child, the community and the country.

As lawmakers, to create an enabling legal and policy framework for addressing child, early and forced marriage in our countries that asserts the primacy of national law over religious and customary laws, establishes 18 as the minimum and uniform age of marriage for both boys and girls, strengthens birth registration systems, and protects women and girls’ rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, property rights, and access to justice.

In our oversight capacity, to invite our Foreign Minister, and other relevant Ministries, for a briefing on priorities for the Sustainable Development Goals’ negotiation process and stress that child, early and forced marriage must be comprehensively and strategically addressed in the post-2015 development framework. Additionally, and following the adoption of the SDGs, monitor the implementation as well as the allocation of resources to new and existing policies and laws that address child, early and forced marriage to ensure their effectiveness.

We, the undersigned Parliamentarians, hereby call upon our Foreign Ministries, fellow Parliamentarians, and relevant stakeholders to redouble efforts in the months ahead to ensure the post-2015 development framework includes a strong target to end child, early and forced marriage under a gender equality goal. Ending child, early and forced marriage will result in fewer girls dying in childbirth, more children surviving infancy, more girls attending school, and will place us on a path to a more equal and more prosperous future, leaving no one behind.

To sign the Petition, please click here

SOURCE: Parliamentarians for Global Action, 04/03/2015, http://www.pgaction.org/news/declaration-to-end-child-early-and-forced-m...