The Importance Of Child Marriage

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Child Marriage and Affected Rights
UNICEF (2016b) defines child marriage as ‘a formal marriage or informal union before age 18’ and places the number of girls getting married before the age of 18 at 15 million every year. These rates are found to be highest in sub-Saharan Africa and to be especially prevalent amongst the poorest of the population with 4 in 10 girls marrying before their 18th birthday (UNICEF, 2017). Among the top 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world, 17 of those are sub-Saharan African countries (Girls Not Brides, 2014a).
Child marriage violates a range of rights protected under the CRC and this essay will discuss violations of the right to non-discrimination (Article 2), right to education (Article 28), right to health (Article 24) and right to life (Article 6). In this analysis, it will be shown how the violation of one right in this context leads to the successive violation of other rights. The order in which this analysis will follow is argued to be the order in which the successive violations of these rights will often occur, highlighting the links between them.

Right to Non-Discrimination
Article 2.1 of the CRC places an obligation on State parties to respect and ensure the rights of each child ‘without discrimination of any kind’ irrespective of sex and social origin, amongst other criteria. (CRC, 1989). Although child marriage affects girls and boys, girls are disproportionately affected by the practice (UNICEF,
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