Addis Ababa Declaration on Ending Child Marriage in Africa - African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC)

11/04/2014
"We, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), and representatives from the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), International Non-governmental Organisations (INGOs), UN agencies, and child rights experts from across Africa, present at the Day of General Discussion on “Ending Child Marriage in Africa” organised during the 23rd Session of the ACERWC:
 
Recognising article 21(2) of the Charter;
 
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.
 
Welcoming the initiative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the Campaign to End Child Marriage;
 
Understanding that child marriage refers to any marriage where at least one of the parties is below 18 years of age
 
Recognising that child marriage is a multi-faceted social-cultural and endemic harmful practice in most parts of Africa which adversely impacts the personal development and future opportunities, health and wellbeing of children, with detrimental consequences on children, women, families, communities and nations at large;
 
Recognising that all children, both girls and boys, have fundamental human rights, especially the right to non-discrimination, survival, development, education, health and welfare, and participation, and that child marriage is a serious violation of these rights;
 
Concerned that girl children in particular are often married due to socio-cultural norms, against their will, and mostly to older men, and thereafter subjected to physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse within such marriage, and in some cases are victims of child trafficking and kidnapping;
 
Conscious of the fact that some groups of girls, such as girls in conflict and disaster situations face a higher risk of child marriage due to vulnerabilities associated with conflict or disasters which leaves them with physical and emotional scars;(...)"