The Problem Of Human Rights

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Human rights have yet to become the major local approach to social justice as applied to the practice of early marriage in the Amhara Regional State, in Ethiopia. Currently, the language of rights in Ethiopia is intertwined with the formal law and the packaging of rights via government channels. There is negligible political space for the international human rights norms to penetrate the community without the intermediary role of government institutions and networks. This to the large part is attributed to the Charities and Societies proclamation No. 621/2009 of Ethiopia (CSO law) that came into force in January 2010. The CSO law prohibited foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from engaging in activities pertaining to…show more content…
At the time, local women’s rights activists in Ethiopia had crucial role for the transplanting of international human rights norms to the national level particularly in the area of violence against women. The 1994 Ethiopian constitution explicitly states that "marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses" and the minimum legal age for marriage is 18 for both boys and girls. In effect, the Constitution appropriated the international human rights norms regarding early marriage that is based on uniform minimum age of marriage and individual consent. Ethiopia’s Criminal Code, which is applicable to all regional states, outlines special provisions to punish the perpetrators of early marriage. However, the laws are not always enforced. In addition, Ethiopia has no functional national or regional system to register births, deaths, marriages, and divorce, making it difficult for authorities to prove a girl is underage.

Ethiopia’s approach to child marriage is closely linked to its work to end female genital mutilation/cutting and is guided by a National Strategy and Action Plan on Harmful Traditional Practices Against Women and Children, which was launched in 2013. The CEDAW Committee suggested the drafting of a comprehensive strategy ‘to eliminate harmful practices and stereotypes that discriminate against women’ in its concluding
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