Last month the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for the elimination of child, early and forced marriage to be considered in the post-2015 development agenda. This is a first.
The Ambassador of Sierra Leone, Yvette Stevenes, introduced the resolution to the Human Rights Council, stating that “efforts [to end child marriage] need to be strengthened to address this breach of human rights of some of the most vulnerable groups in society”. According to UNICEF, 44% of girls are married before the age of 18 in Sierra Leone; 18% before the age of 15.
The resolution also stresses the value of empowering and investing in women and girls for “breaking the cycle of gender inequality and discrimination, violence and poverty” and for bringing about “sustainable development and economic growth.”
It acknowledges the multi-faceted impact of child, early and forced marriage on the “economic, legal, health and social status of women and girls” as well as “the development of the community as a whole”.
The Human Rights Council is the leading UN body responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights around the world. The resolution calls for a panel discussion on the issue of child, early and forced marriage at an upcoming session of the Human Rights Council in 2014.
A resolution is only that, but it’s a step.