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Stop Forced Child Marriage: A Comparative Global Law Analysis
Millions of girls are forcibly married during the transitional period between puberty and adulthood. At a stage of vulnerability cultural practices, religious rights and social standards place her in a position where she is catapult into womanhood. An advocate against forced child marriage could argue that child rights, cultural rights, religious rights, right to marry, right to life, right to health, right to education, right to be free from slavery, right to be free from torture, right to consent to marriage are all violated by the practice of child marriage. The author is this advocate and this paper will present how some of these rights are violated and establish the need for change.
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[1] United Nations Population Fund, Marrying to Young: End Child Marriage, 2012 MarryingTooYoung.pdf.
[2] Seelinger, Kim Thuy, “Forced Marriage and Asylum: Perceiving the Invisible Harm.” 42 Columbia Human Rights Law. Rev. 55, 60 (2010).
[3] Alexandra Hervish and Charlotte Feldman-Jacobs. “Who Speaks for Me? Ending Child Marriage” Population Reference Bureau Policy Brief (April 2011)
[4] Welstead, Mary, “Forced Marriage: Bifurcated Values in the UK” 21 Denning Law Journal 49, 51 (2009).
[5] Child marriages are considered force marriage arrangements from an international law perspective because a child under 18 is considered incapable of giving the informed consent necessary to validate marriage. See the Convention to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage, and Registration of Marriages, 32 U.N.T.S. 231, (November 7, 1972),
[6] Ntolokwana, N., Center for Constitutional Rights, Submissions to the South Africa Law Commission on Ukuthwala Customs, p.2.
[7] Thomas, Cheryl, “Forced and Early Child Marriage: A Focus on Central and Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union Countries with Selected Laws From Other Countries, United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women & United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Expert Group Meeting on Good Practices in Legislation to Address Harmful Practices Against Women (May 25-29, 2009), EGM/GPLHP/2009/EP.08, p.3 (June 19, 2009).
[8] Human Rights Watch Report, p. 2 “Reconciled to Violence” (September 2006),
[9] Restatement of the Law 3d: Foreign Relations Law of the United States.
[10] United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 521, p. 231.
[11] Human Rights Council adopts resolution to end child, early and forced marriage, Child Not Brides, July 2, 2015. end-child-early-and-forced-marriage/
[12] United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948, http://daccess-ddsny. OpenElement.
[13] United Nations Development Fund for Women UNIFEM - CEDAW and Security Council Resolution 1325: A Quick Guide, P. 49
[14] Reservations to CEDAW, UN Women.
[15] Sahl, Silke, “Researching Customary International Law, State Practice and the Pronouncements of States regarding International Law”, Hauser Global Law School Program, New York University School of Law (June/July 2007).
[16] GNB Team, Press Relase: Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution to End Child, Early and Forced Marriage, Child Not Brides (02 July 2015) resolution-to-end-child-early-and-forced-marriage/.
[17] Rengita de Silvaa de Alwis, Child Marriage and the Law: Legislative Reform Initiative – Paper Series, Wesley Centers for Women, United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF), Gender, Rights and Civil Engagement Section, Division of Policy and Practice, 17 (April 2007).
[18] Sanyutka Mathur, Margaret Greene, Anju Malhotra, “Too Young to Wed: The Lives, Rights and Health of Young Married Girls” International Center for Research of Women, p.1 (2003).
[19] IHRLS, ad_95.pdf.
[20] International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Entry into force March 23, 1976.
[21] OECD Development Centre Chad: Consolidated Humanitarian Appeals Process 2010,
[22] “In Mali, Child Marriage is a Death Sentence for Many Young Girls”
[23] UN CEDAW – Bangladesh, 48th Session, 97th Meeting, CEDAW/C/SR.970, p. 9 (February 15, 2011) Report_EN_02092011.pdf.
[24] The Child Marriage Restraint Act,
[25] UNICEF Report, Main-Report_EN_02092011.pdf.
[26] Hannah Cartwright “Legal Age of Consent for Marriage and Sex for the 50 United States”, Global Justice Initiatives (August 21, 2011) of-consent-table11.pdf.
[27] U.S.C.A. § 7104: Prevention on Trafficking, dition:prelim).
[28] Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children” Fact Sheet No. 23, www.unhchr:ch/html/menu6/2/fs23.hrm.
[29] United Nations Population Fund, Virtual Slavery: The Practice of Compensation Marriages (July 16, 2008).
[30] Embassy of the United States, Dhaka Bangladesh, “Forced Marriage in Bangladesh”
[31] UN Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages on 5 October 1998 (CCM), UN 5 Feb. 20022002 Chapter%20XVI/XVI-3.en.pdf.
[32] South Africa Constitution, Chapter 2 Bill of Rights, Section 30 and 31.
[33] South Africa Constitution, Chapter 2 Bill of Rights, Section39.
[34] International Center for Research of Women, New Insights on Preventing Child Marriage: A Global Analysis of Factors and Programs, pg. 30 (2007).
[35] The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2006 df.
[36] The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006, The Gazette of India Extraordinary, Ministry of Law and Justice (Child Marriage Act), 11 January 2007.
[37] Child Marriage Act, 11 January 2007.
[38] UNICEF, Child Marriage Handbook – India,
[39] Family Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Last edition from 30-04- 2013). stan%20English.pdf.
[40] UNFPA – Tajikistan, tan%20English.pdf.
[41] The Advocates of Human Rights, “Domestic Violence in Tajikistan”, p. 23 (October 2008).
[42] Pakistan Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929, 1929.html.
[43] International Center for Research of Women, New Insights on Preventing Child Marriage: A Global Analysis of Factors and Programs, pg. 28 (2007).
[44] Bhe and Others v Khayelitsha Magistrate and Others (CCT 49/03) (2004) ZACC 17; 2005 (1) SA 580 (CC); 2005 (1) BCLR 1 (CC) (15 October 2004),
[45] Innocent Digest (No 7, 2001)in case UNFPA and UNIFEM Joint Proposal for a Planning Grant “Improving Social and Economic Opportunities for Adolescent Girls in Ethiopia and Bangladesh”.
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