Delegate Name: Mary England
Committee: UN Women
Topic: Child Marriage
Child marriage rates across the world are in decline. However there are still millions of women and children that are or were married before the age of 18. Child marriage is in fact a violation of human rights. It forces young girls to their childhoods and transition into women hood at an unhealthy rate. About 40 million girls between the age of 15 and 19 are married, every year approximately 12 million more will be forced into marriage. A girl who is forced into marriage is more likely to stop her path of education. Forced pregnancy is also a result of child marriage and can cause many casualties at such a young age. The most direct cause of forced marriage is due to poverty and is a growing problem in developing countries and among refugees.
The nation of France has a very low percentage of forced marriages. However, non-consensual marriages are more common among immigrant women. There is the practice of child marriage all around the world. France has several hotlines in place that women can contact if they are being forced into a marriage. Women who are in this position are in fact protected by the law. Additionally, the union of a child and an adult can be annulled by the appearance of just one party in court. On top of this the action of traveling abroad with the purpose of forced marriage can be punished by up to three years in prison and a €45,000 fine. Child marriage is addressed at several international conventions. The Universal Declaration of Human rights supports free and full consent to marriage but does not address any limitations such as age or forced marriage.
France feels profoundly about eliminating Child Marriage and encourages the UN to take steps to increase awareness about the current situation. There are several NGOs that are willing to help in France and it could be beneficial to spread awareness and grow them so children in need can have a safe place. The number one solution to the prevention of child marriage starts with education. Another step to take towards the end of child marriage includes the encouragement of passing laws and policies that support the end of child and forced marriages.