Europe ERRC reports concerns about child marriages to UN Committees

29 Sep 2011 Early marriages sexual exploitation

2577_karl_blanchet_2006_fier_smallBudapest, 28 September 2011: In advance of a joint General Comment from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the European Roma Rights Centre submitted information related to the harmful practice of child marriages in Roma communities.

The ERRC expressed concern about the human rights threatened by child marriages, which occur in some Roma communities in Europe. Child marriage often threatens the access of Romani children, particularly girls, to education, which results in low levels of literacy and negatively affects employment. Vulnerability to domestic violence is increased for victims of child marriage. Furthermore harmful practices such as virginity testing are often found in cases of child marriage. The overall physical and psychological health of Romani girls and their children is also negatively impacted; risks include pregnancy complications and higher rates of infant mortality. Forced child marriages have also been noted to increase the vulnerability of Romani children to become victims of trafficking in human beings.

Given these alarming facts, the ERRC recommended that the CRC and CEDAW joint recommendation call on States to investigate and report on the occurrence of child marriages; develop policies that build up Roma communities through supporting women’s and children’s rights, with a focus on education and social inclusion; and particularly support education for Romani girls and employment for Romani women.

For further information contact:

Sinan Gökçen
ERRC Media and Communications Officer


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