An official website of the United States government

Human Rights Council Holds Panel on Child, Early and Forced Marriage
June 23, 2014

Panel on the Prevention and Elimination of Child, Early and Forced Marriage

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

UN Human Rights Council – 26th Session
Geneva, June 24, 2014

As Delivered by Lisa Brodey

Thank you, Madam Ambassador.

The United States welcomes today’s important panel on child, early and forced marriage.

There are more than 60 million child brides worldwide, and one in nine girls around the world marry before the age of 15, often without their consent and resulting in severe health consequences.

This profound challenge demands this Council’s attention.

Many aspects of the report OHCHR prepared for today’s panel provide an excellent basis for focusing this Council on ways to address Child and Early and Forced Marriage.

As the report highlights, under some circumstances, these practices are tantamount to slavery.

When women and girls are used for sexual purposes in exchange for goods, payment in cash or in kind, subjected to transactional sexual exploitation under the guise of “temporary marriages,” or in cases in which they are put into a situation of domestic servitude through marriage, it is a form of trafficking in persons.

The United States appreciates the efforts of UNICEF, UNFPA, and other UN organizations, together with governments, communities and partners at all levels to promote policies, legislation and dialogue to end Child, Early and Forced Marriage.

Ultimately, local communities, especially those that incorporate the views of women and girls, are the real driving forces that can ensure sustainability of efforts to address CEFM.

Education also plays a vital preventive role.

Girls with at least secondary schooling are up to six times less likely to marry as children compared to girls who have little or no education.

We’re all here because we want for every woman and girl what we would want for our own daughters: an opportunity to live up to their full potential.

Preventing CEFM continues to be a priority for the United States, and we will continue to work closely with the international community to strengthen the protection of women and girls.

Thank you.