Noting that estimated 10 million girls are married every year before they reach the age of 18, the United States of America today outlined efforts to halt child marriage around the world..
In her remarks at the United Nation’s Third Committee on the Rights of the Child in New York, U.S. Advisor to the UN’s Third Committee, Kelly L. Razzouk stresses that All children around the world deserve to grow up in an environment where their dignity and human rights are respected.
“Girls also need protection from child marriage, and we believe that equal access to education is one part of the solution.” -Ms. Razzouk
She stresses that elevating the status of girls is critical to achieving prosperity, stability, and security.
“Doing so is not only the right thing to do-it is the smart thing to do.” -Ms. Razzouk
She reports that an estimated 10 million girls are married every year before they reach the age of 18, many at ages even younger.
Early marriage threatens girls’ health and education, and robs them of the opportunity to reach their full potential, she underscored.
The US government is concerned, for example, by findings of the Special Rapporteur on Iran documenting marriages of Iranian girls as young as nine years old.
One of the best ways to tackle the practice of early marriage is to enroll and keep adolescent girls in school, she stressed/
However, Ms. Razzouk pointed out that far too many girls in the developing world fail to make the transition from primary to secondary education.
“The United States is committed to addressing and preventing early or forced marriage, and we will intensify our diplomacy and development efforts to end this practice, including by promoting girls’ education.” -Ms. Razzouk
Last week, Secretary Clinton joined in celebrating the first-ever United Nations International Day of the Girl Child.
Ms. Clinton has announced a new U.S. initiative to address this threat to girls and global development.
According to Ms. Razzouk, the State Department will work with the private sector to launch new programs to promote girls education and will also now report on child marriage in its annual country reports on human rights practices.
The UN and private foundations are stepping forward in meaningful and powerful ways, she satted.
In addition, the UN Population Fund and the Ford, MasterCard, and MacArthur Foundations have pledged a total of $94 million to the cause of girls’ education and to addressing and preventing child marriage.
“We urge our international colleagues here today to make a similar commitment.” -Ms. Razzouk
This year’s rights of the child resolution has a special focus on indigenous children, she stressed.
The United States is home to over two million Native Americans, and the US would like to thank the Secretary General for his report that addresses indigenous children.
The US is committed to working with tribes, individuals, and communities to address the many challenges indigenous children face, including in education, health, protection from violence and discrimination, and preservation of their cultural heritage.
“The United States firmly believes that a strong cultural identity provides indigenous children with a source of stability and strength.” -Ms. Razzouk
She adds that the United States commends the Secretary General’s Special Representative on Violence against Children for her tremendous work and the goals she has set for the future.
The US government strongly agree with the Special Representative that reducing violence against children is crucial to supporting economic development.
The US also appreciates the work of the Special Representative in addressing issues across the full life cycle of children, starting with early childhood care and leading to fulfillment of a quality education.
“We will continue to invest in the protection of vulnerable children in order allow them to achieve their full potential.” -Ms. Razzouk
The United States has a deep, unwavering commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of children in its own country and around the world, Ms. Razzouk underscored.
The US will continue to work with the international community to ensure that human rights are a reality for all children.
Statistics show that the majority of girls in Asia, Africa and Latin America are married by the age of 14. According to reports, in six of the 21 sub-Saharan African countries surveyed, the average age of marriage was less than 18. In Bangladesh, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Yemen, more than half of all young women interviewed were married by age 16.
In summary, countries has denounced early marriage which can have several harmful effects on the overall well being of a young girl, or child, who is not mentally, psychologically, emotionally or physically prepared for a conjugal life.