SRI analysis of the language of ‘child, early and forced’ marriage

Published on November 02, 2013

In preparation of the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), the Sexual Rights Initiative produced an analysis of the terminology of child, early and forced marriage from the international human rights law and UN policy perspectives.

During this session, the Council adopted Resolution 24/23 on the subject of child, early and forced marriage, which requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights prepare a report on “preventing and eliminating child, early and forced marriage, with a particular focus on challenges, achievements, best practices and implementation gaps” to be presented to the Council at its 26th session in June 2014. This report will also inform the panel discussion that will be held at that session on the same subject.

The SRI’s analysis recommends that the “international community explicitly—and consistently—define these terms so that countries, international bodies, and civil can share the same understandings and expectations moving forward. Without firm definitions, terms such as ‘child, early and forced marriage’ will lead to divergent interpretations. In order to intelligently strategize for the future, it is vital that all parties share a common currency with regard to the language. Until then, however, the term ‘early and forced marriage’ is the safest route forward, no matter which way it is read.”

The analysis can be accessed here.


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