A resolution on child, early and forced marriage is being considered in the UN Human Rights Council in the coming week. The alliance to end early and forced marriages KP/FATA is urging the Pakistan government to support the forthcoming resolution in the UN, and to co-sponsor the Human Rights Council resolution.
The broad co-sponsorship of the resolution will demonstrate support for ending child marriage, and the recognition of child marriage as a human rights violation. It is critical that as many countries as possible, from a broad geographical range, co-sponsor the resolution. It is particularly important that the resolution be co-sponsored and supported by governments of countries with a high prevalence of child marriages. This year’s resolution was requested by a joint statement adopted last year at the Human Rights Council, and builds on the short resolution on child, early and forced marriage in 2013 by recognizing child marriage as a human rights issue and a barrier to sustainable development. It also recognizes the progress that is being made with the adoption of regional initiatives, and encourages the creation of national action plans.
The coordinator of the alliance to end early and forced marriages KP/FATA and the Provincial Coordinator of National Action Coordination Group (NACG) Mr. Qamar Naseem said in the press statement issued by the Alliance Secretariat that the “Passage of the resolution will demonstrate global commitment to addressing the issue of child marriage and the importance of including a target on child, early and forced marriage in the final post-2015 development framework. A widely supported resolution will help to build global support for ending child marriage, especially as countries begin to implement the Sustainable Development Goals’ target, by demonstrating global consensus on the issue and highlighting its link to human rights and sustainable development. Ending child, early and forced marriage is central to any new goal to empower women and girls and achieve gender equality in the post-2015 development framework. A target on child, early and forced marriage will accelerate efforts to achieve a safe, healthy and prosperous future for all.” Mr. Naseem further said that “Ending child, early and forced marriage will require concerted effort at all levels including work at community level by grassroots groups in changing attitudes, supportive legal and policy frameworks in countries where the practice is prevalent, recognition by the international community of child marriage as a barrier to fulfilling human rights and achieving lasting development, and investment in programmes aimed at preventing child marriage, and supporting married girls”.
Mr. Naseem further said that “We also need to recognize that boys also suffer from harmful practices, and men and boys have a key role in eliminating them, and this role must be overlooked.”
Member of the alliance and coordinator of Child Rights Movement FATA Mr. Zar Ali Khan, in this statement, said that “Global resolutions demonstrate the commitment of governments to face up to problems like child marriage. Ending child marriage is not only a moral obligation, it is also smart development.”
Mr. Taimur Kamal, Coordinator of Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network, stated in his comments that “It is time to examine harmful practices from a human rights perspective. Children have a right to be protected from practices that have absolutely no health or medical benefits, but which can have long-term negative effects on their physical or mental well-being. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child both contain provisions under which harmful practices constitute human rights violations and obliges states to take steps to prevent and eliminate them.”