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2015 Africa Scorecard On Underage/Child/Forced ‘Marriage’ – Looking Beyond #CSW59 & #Beijing20 Review
  • As #CSW59 & #Beijing20 Review Come To An End, Afri-Dev & Partners Publish Special Scorecard To Promote Government Accountability On Ending Underage/Child/Forced ‘Marriage’
  • At An Estimated 14 Million African Girl Children A Year – Victims of Underage/Child/Forced ‘Marriage’ – Projections Are That By 2030, End Year Of New Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals – An Estimated 210 million Girls/Women Will Be In The Hands of A Captor/Abuser – Making Underage/Child/Forced ‘Marriage’ The Most Wide Spread Institutionalised Abuse & Sexual Exploitation Of Girl Children Permitted Or Tolerated by ‘Law’, ‘Culture’ Or ‘Tradition’.
  • Scorecard & Factsheet Highlight Negative Multisectoral Implications Of Underage/Child/Forced ‘Marriage’ For: Girls/Women’s Human Rights; Health; Human Development; Governance; Population; Economy; Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals & #Africa2063 Agenda
  • The Astonishing Projections On This Immoral ‘Legality’ Will Almost Certainly Obliterate Africa’s Hopes Of Meeting Sustainable Development Goals – On Girl Child Education; Reproductive, Maternal & Child Health; Women’s Economic Empowerment; Women’s Political Participation; Overall Poverty Reduction & Will Almost Certainly Trigger An Epidemic of Fistula, Cervical Cancer Amongst Others.
  • To Facilitate Better Understanding – Partners Call On Development Agencies & Government’s To End All Classification Of Minor’s/Girl Children Under 18 Years Of Age As ‘Women’ In Development Indicators – & Adopt A Unified & More Appropriate Classification Of – “Girl Child” Or “Adolescent Girls” – In Line With African Charter On Rights & Welfare Of The Child.
  • To Help Avert The Tragic Projections – Partners Call On African Governments To
    Implement As An Integral Pre-requisite To Success Of Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals – Full Budget Supported & Trackable Country Level Domestication / Implementation of The African Charter On Rights & Welfare of The Child. (Provisions Of Charter Below Maps & Tables)
Tables Also Available For Online & Social Media   

Key Highlights:


 Overall, the scorecard and research findings highlight – that:

➢    20 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; ➢    15 years of Millennium Development Goals; ➢    15 years after entering into force of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; ➢    10 years after the entering into force of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and

       Peoples’ Rights – on the Rights of Women in Africa; ➢    5 years into the AU African Women’s Decade 2010-2020 ➢    And in 2015 – the AU “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development In Africa”

  • Underage / Child / Forced ‘Marriage’ – A most disempowering manifestation of gender inequality, and brutal reflection on status of girl children and women – has not been eradicated in Africa – is currently at epidemic proportions, is institutionalised, and in majority of African countries is state endorsed or tolerated by ‘law’, ‘culture’ or ‘tradition’.
  • The everyday lives of girl children subjected to underage child and forced ‘marriage’ demonstrates that – These are not genuine marriages in any sense of the word – but rather a pseudo legal institutionalized way for men that have low regard for status of girl children to:
  1. Acquire underage girl children for sexual abuse, exploitation and child bearing
  2. Acquire domestic house servants – with no rights and legal protection

Negative Multisectoral Implications Of Underage/Child/Forced ‘Marriage’ For: Girls/Women’s Human Rights; Health; Human Development; Governance; Population; & Economy

Negative Impact on Girls & Women’s Human Rights:
Disturbingly for gender equality, women’s health, human security and development – the widespread abuse of tens of millions of girl children through underage/child/forced ‘marriage’ has resulted in them being negatively socialised and indoctrinated to accept and justify violence against (themselves) as normal and acceptable – thereby undermining or even reversing girls/women’s human rights.

Danger To Girls & Women’s Citizenship & Constitutional Status:

This institutionalised indoctrination and socialisation of tens of millions of African girls and women to accept violence against themselves as normal – represents great danger to women’s citizenship, and constitutional status – by creating a social sub-category of tens of millions of girls and women indoctrinated to surrender their equality, and right to social justice.

Consequently there are 25 African countries where over half (50% or more) of Girls and Women 15-49 years old have been indoctrinated to accept or justify gender based violence as normal: Guinea 92%; Mali 87%; Central African Republic 80%; South Sudan 79%; D.R. Congo 76%; Somalia 76%; Gambia 75%; Congo 73%; Burundi 73%; Sierra Leone 73%; Algeria 68%; Ethiopia 68%; Morocco 64%; Chad 62%; Zambia 62%; Niger 60%; Senegal 60%; Liberia 59%; Uganda 58%; Rwanda 56%; Tanzania 54%; Kenya 53%; Equatorial Guinea 53%; Eritrea 51%; and Gabon 50%.

Danger To Africa’s Sustainable Development:

Epidemic levels of sexual abuse and violence against girl children through underage/child/forced ‘marriage’ is undermining African and global development goals for Girl Child Education; HIV, Reproductive, Sexual, Maternal – & Child – Health, Cervical Cancer, and Mental Health of Women amongst other health and development issues

Entrenching Feminisation of Poverty / Danger To Africa’s Poverty Reduction Goals:

By creating an underclass of tens of millions of girls/women that are economically dependent on their abusers – underage/child/forced ‘marriage’ –  is deepening, entrenching and normalising the feminisation of poverty in Africa thereby making it impossible for the continent to sustainably end poverty.

Danger To Girls & Women’s Education, Economic Empowerment And Economic Development:

By creating an underclass of tens of millions of girls/women denied education, skills development and severely truncated ability for employment or business opportunities – underage/child/forced ‘marriage’   is not only hampering economic empowerment of women, but in effect undermining sustainable economic development of Africa

Danger To Women’s Political Participation & Representation:

By creating an underclass of tens of millions of girls/women denied fundamental freedoms of expression, movement and association – underage/child/forced ‘marriage’ is excluding millions of girls and women from Political Participation and Representation – and potentially altering Africa’s political landscape to be the most gender negative globally.

Normalisation Of Domestic / Community Based Trafficking:

Underage/Child/Forced ‘Marriage’ Normalises Community Based Trafficking, Sexual Abuse & Exploitation Of Girl Children – By cloaking it in the pseudo legality of ‘marriage’, parental ‘consent’ and ‘culture’ and ‘tradition’.
Underage/Child/Forced ‘Marriage’ Also Normalises What Is Effectively Domestic Servitude & Economic Exploitation Of Girl Children – By cloaking it in the pseudo legality of ‘marriage’, parental ‘consent’ and ‘culture’ and ‘tradition’.

Negative Impact on Population, Governance, Peace & Security:

Underage/child/forced ‘marriage’ (where girls survive maternal mortality and fistula etc) – leads to skyrocketing fertility rates of between 5 to 8 children per woman – triggering population growth that outstrips resources.

For instance in Niger Republic 16.7 million, and in Nigeria 92.9 million children/youth each are projected to be be added to their populations by 2030 – in just the next 15 years – placing immense pressure on schools, water, food, housing, transport, jobs and overall resource management, governance, peace and security.

Overall Destructive Impact On Girls Childhood & Adolescent Development:

Overall Underage/child/forced ‘marriage’ destroys the childhood and adolescence of tens of millions girl children subjecting them to life long trauma and mental health, and then denies them an opportunity for rehabilitation by creating a pseudo legal framework for lifelong abuse and exploitation.

Excerpt From Key Recommendations

See Scorecard & Factsheet For Full Set Of Recommendations

Urgent formation as pre-requisite for succesful implementation of Post 2015 Development Goals –

Of Independent National Equality and Women’s Rights Commissions supported by legislation and budget to ensure full domestication, promotion and implementation of The African Charter on Rights & Welfare of the Child States – in force since 1999; and related conventions.

In Particular The Mandate Should Cover Domestication / National Implementation Of Following Provisions Of African Charter On Rights & Welfare Of The Child Article 2: Definition of a Child.   For title purposes of this Charter, a child means every human being below the age of 18 years. Article 4: Best Interests of the Child. 1. In all actions concerning the child undertaken by any person or authority the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration. Article 11: Education.

1. Every child shall have the right to an education.

2. The education of the child shall be directed to: (a) The promotion and development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential; 3. States Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures with a view to achieving the full realization of this right and shall in particular: (d) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates; (e) Take special measures in respect of female, gifted and disadvantaged children, to ensure equal access to education for all sections of the community. Article 14: Health and Health Services. 1. Every child shall have the right to enjoy the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health. 2. States Parties to the present Charter shall undertake to pursue the full implementation of this right and in particular shall take measures:

(a) To reduce infant and child morality rate;

Article 15: Child Labor. 1. Every child shall be protected from all forms of economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development. Article 16: Protection Against Child Abuse and Torture. 1. States Parties to the present Charter shall take specific legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and especially physical or mental injury or abuse, neglect or maltreatment including sexual abuse… Article 21: Protection against Harmful Social and Cultural Practices.

1. States Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate harmful social and cultural practices affecting the welfare, dignity, normal growth and development of the child and in particular:

(a) Those customs and practices prejudicial to the health or life of the child; (b) Those customs and practices discriminatory to the child on the grounds of sex or other status.

2. Child marriage and the betrothal of girls and boys shall be prohibited and effective action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify the minimum age of marriage to be 18 years and make registration of all marriages in an official registry compulsory.

Article 27: Sexual Exploitation. 1. States Parties to the present Charter shall undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse… Article 29: Sale, Trafficking and Abduction

States Parties to the present Charter shall take appropriate measures to prevent.

(a)The abduction, the sale of, or traffic of children  for any purpose or in any form, by any person including parents or legal guardians of the child...