Delegate Name: Jade Tarango
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Forest Hills Eastern
According to the United Nations (UN), 39,000 women under the age of 18 are married every day, resulting in harm to both their physical and mental health. A marriage in which one of the parties is under 18, referred to as child marriage by the UN Human Rights Office, robs young women of their right to a free and consensual union. This practice is seen worldwide but strikes the most prevalence in West and Central Africa. Domestic violence, sexually transmitted infections, and complications with childbirth are just some of the issues that prevail in instances of child marriage. Specifically, the practice of child marriage has had a major impact on increasing the spread of AIDS, especially in underdeveloped countries. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) states that the Federal Republic of Nigeria has the most child brides with over 22 million girls suffering. In order to protect women’s rights and combat this destructive practice, Nigeria is eager to find a solution to this issue that plagues young girls worldwide.
UNICEF reports that over 40% of girls in Nigeria are married before adulthood. With a lack of a strong inclination for girls to stay in school, many seek financial assistance through marriage. While this remains a pressing issue, there have been some efforts to combat this in Nigeria’s history. For example, Article 21 of the African Charter prohibits the marriage of anyone under 18. While this legislation starts the process of ending this practice, it remains prevalent through informal unions and loose enforcement. Similarly, the UN announced an initiative that calls for the end of child marriage by 2030 to try and stop the violation of women’s rights. This issue is particularly pressing because Nigeria has the third-highest number of HIV/AIDS deaths in the world, many of which result from child marriages, according to the CIA World Factbook. Additionally, the CIA reports that Nigeria has the 4th highest maternal mortality rate with over 917 deaths per 100,000 births. In order to preserve the lives and rights of Nigerian girls, action must be taken to end child marriage.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria would look favorably upon actions to not only pass legislation outlawing child marriage, but also widespread education of the dangers it poses. Sexual education as well as encouragement for girls to stay in school will drastically help reduce the number of deaths resulting from child marriages. Additionally, increased opportunities for careers for women would be beneficial in reducing the popularization of marriage as a form of financial support. Nigeria is willing to collaborate with any nations wishing to end child marriage and protect young women from the dangers it poses.