Today, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released the State Department’s Annual Human Rights Report and for the second consecutive year, child marriage is recognized for what it is – a gross human rights violation. This detailed analysis describes the extent to which child marriage is a problem and what actions are being taken to prevent it in 20 countries with the highest prevalence rates. By including child marriage in the report, this harmful practice ranks alongside other serious abuses such as child soldiers, trafficking and violence.
Currently, the State Department voluntarily reports on child marriage, but we need to guarantee that all future secretaries do the same. This global overview on human rights – now in its 35th year – informs policy decisions in Congress; foreign governments and civil society groups have also come to depend on it as a resource. That’s why for the past five years ICRW has advocated for Congress to pass legislation that would require the State Department to include child marriage in every annual human rights report.
When she released the report this morning, Secretary Clinton also announced the launch of www.humanrights.gov, a “one-stop shop” for information about what the U.S. is doing to protect human rights. ICRW urges the State Department to include details on the website about U.S. actions to combat child marriage and to ensure the full rights of women and girls worldwide.
Tell us, do you consider child marriage a violation of girls’ human rights? Should the State Department be required to report on it annually?