Delegate Name: Owen Rizor
Committee: UN Women
Topic: Child Marriage
Delegate: Owen Rizor
In Kenya, child marriage is an issue that is somewhat prevalent despite multiple laws banning it and other related practices. The first law banning child marriage was passed in 2001. Other such laws have been enacted in 2006, 2011, and 2014.
The Children’s Act of Kenya Part II 14. states that “No person shall subject a child to female circumcision, early marriage or other cultural rites, customs or traditional practices that are likely to negatively affect the child’s life, health, social welfare, dignity or physical or psychological development.” The Act was passed in 2001. Since then, the Sexual Offences Act was passed in 2006, the Prohibition Of Female Genitalia Mutilation Act was passed in 2011, and the Marriage act was passed in 2014. While these laws have brought down the amount of child marriage and FGM, the percentages are still at a troubling number. Child marriage sits at 23% and FGM sits at 21%.
In March of 2016, the United Nations presented a new initiative that’s goal is to end child marriage in 2030. The proposal targets 12 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East where child marriage is prevalent. It will improve education and health access for girls, education on child marriage for parents, economic support for poorer families, and making better laws that will enforce the minimum age of marriage as 18. The UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, says on the matter, “This is critical now because if current trends continue, the number of girls and women married as children will reach nearly 1 billion in 2030…”
Kenya believes that the laws we have put in place need better enforcement and need to be revised to make them more clear and more effective. Our goal is to end child marriage as soon as possible and we cannot do that without precise laws. We propose revisiting all former proposals on child marriage and also increasing enforcement of these laws. The more rescue centers and professionals involved, the better. Mental health services should also be provided for those who have gone through any experience relating to child marriage or FGM.
Children Act. childrenscouncil.go.ke/images/documents/Acts/Children-Act.pdf.
“FGM & Child Marriage in Kenya.” Equality Now, www.equalitynow.org/www-equalitynow-org-learn_more_fgm_and_child_marriage_in_kenyalocaleen/.
“New UN Initiative Aims to Protect Millions of Girls from Child Marriage | | UN News.” United Nations, United Nations, news.un.org/en/story/2016/03/523802-new-un-initiative-aims-protect-millions-girls-child-marriage#.Vt8pqfkrK71.