Delegate Name: Jaisal Chopra
United Nations Women
The Federal Republic of Germany
Forest Hills Eastern
Child marriage is a marriage in which at least one of the parties is under eighteen years old. This negatively affects young girls as they can end up pregnant, without any financial support, and can even interrupt their education. Many families participate in the practice since it lifts them out of poverty. Free and full consent in marriage has been recognized as a human right and some organizations, such as The UN Children’s Fund and UN Population Fund, have made attempts to combat the problem. According to UNICEF’s number, there are 765 million minors in marriages worldwide. Early marriage also harms the development and wellbeing of girls and can even lead to domestic violence and rape. This barrier to gender equality rips young girls from many opportunities such as higher education and higher-paying jobs.
According to statistics released from Germany’s Central Register of Foreign Nationals, there are 1,475 children that are listed as “married” on their official paperwork. This fact includes all foreign nationals living in Germany. It was also revealed that of this number, the vast majority were girls. There are 361 children under the age of 14 that are legally married and living in Germany. Much of Germany’s child marriage number comes from refugee populations, but some also come from fellow European Union member states. This led to Germany putting into effect a well-intentioned “Law to Combat Child Marriage” with the change of making the legal age of marriage to 18 on July 22, 2017. This law also had a goal of protecting young girls and women from being forced into marriages against their will. This attempt to effect change was promising at first, but has a lower success rate than hoped.
Germany urges countries to begin within their own population and set laws to prohibit child marriage. Germany itself hopes to make stronger laws than ones already created to do this. Germany believes the UN should make the issue of child marriage a priority. Germany proposes an increased effort in research on child marriage and the effects it has on young women. Germany promotes laws that outline the procedure to handle refugees moving through countries and marrying underage, especially in Germany where the legal age is 18. When children marry in another country where it is legal, it can be hard to recognize that marriage in Germany. So, if more countries recognize the problem and set laws as increasing the legal age, the issue of child marriage would be on its way to being solved. Germany will endorse any resolution that will increase research on the effects of child marriage and will set laws to limit legal underage marriages.