Protecting the girl child: using the law to end child, early and forced marriage and related human rights violations

Protecting the girl child: using the law to end child, early and forced marriage and related human rights violations

“What if instead of being treated as someone’s property to be betrothed, raped, abused, sold, with no power over her destiny, a girl is healthy, safe, educated, and empowered?”

The opening question of this Equality Now report asks this important question as it sets out to address the pervasive practice of child marriage. Child marriage around the world legitimises human rights violations and abuses of girls under the guise of culture, honour, tradition, and religion.

The report examines national and international marriage laws, and makes a strong case for both as important tools in the effort to eliminate child marriage. It also looks at the real-life stories of young women from around the world, and uses these to establish key recommendations, such as: extensive policy reform and the establishment of more sound legal frameworks, more support for community-level initiatives, and making the child marriage issue a priority in any post-2015 agenda.

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