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Over 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria and the global pandemic has only made it harder for young people to stay in school. There have been dire consequences for girls, who are at risk of being married off. In a recent report,…
A woman protests against child marriage in Lagos, Nigeria.
News
A case pending before Colombia’s Constitutional Court, brought by Causa Justa, creates a landmark opportunity to end an approach to abortion that violates the rights of women and health workers by decriminalizing this critically important health care…
News

End Exclusion from School for Married, Pregnant Students

(Dakar) – Millions of pregnant and married adolescent girls across many African countries are being denied their education because of discriminatory policies and practices, Human Rights Watch said today, on the Day of the African Child…
Cartoon for Tanzania Education Report
News

Children Can No Longer Marry with Parental Consent

Malawi’s parliament took a historic step towards ending child marriage last week, when it removed from its Constitution a provision allowing children between the ages of 15 and 18 to marry with parental consent. Now, the minimum age of marriage…
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Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse…
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Decision to Redefine Childhood Should Help Deter Child Marriage

Malawi has made a commitment to amend its conflicting laws on the definition of a child, a move that will help in the fight against child marriage. Malawi’s constitution and the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act define a…
A 14-year-old girl holds her baby at her sister’s home in a village in Kanduku, in Malawi’s Mwanza district. She married in September 2013, but her husband chased her away. Her 15-year-old sister, in the background, married when she was 12.
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The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised concern among public health officials across the Americas. The World Health Organization warned Sunday that the virus is likely to spread further across the region. At first glance,…
A woman walks away from her apartment as health workers fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
News

Finance, Carry Out National Action Plans

(Nairobi) – African governments should coordinate action to improve laws, education, health care, and public awareness to end the scourge of child marriage, Human Rights Watch said today on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2015. Forty percent…
A young, unmarried girl stands amid a herd of cattle outside Bor, the capital of Jonglei State.  Cattle carry significant social, economic, and cultural importance for South Sudan's pastoralist ethnic groups, which use cows for payment of dowry.
News

Opening the Door for Girls' Education, Health, and Freedom from Violence

Introduction I faced a lot of problems in marriage. I was young and did not know how to be a wife. I was pregnant, had to look after my husband, do housework, deal with in-laws, and work on the farm. My worst time was…
News
“I feel very sad when I see small girls getting married. They don’t know the hard life that awaits them,” said Danira, who was married at age 14. “I wish I had gone to school. Life could be better for me because I could get a job.” Today, the…
News

Amend Constitution; Address Anti-LGBTI Provisions

(Nairobi) – A new Malawi law that sets 18 as the minimum age for marriage is an important step toward preventing child marriage, Human Rights Watch said today. The Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act (Marriage Act) of 2015 became law following the…
News
Nineteen-year-old Elina V. was 15 and in school when her grandmother forced her to marry a 24-year-old man. “I had to look after my husband, do housework, deal with in-laws, and work on the farm,” she told me. “My worst time was when I was pregnant. I had…
Report
Summary You are no longer in Nigeria. You are now in an Islamic kingdom. Here, women’s rights are respected, not like in Nigeria where women are made to work, farm, fetch water and firewood,…
News
As Malawi celebrates the International Day of the Girl today, will President Peter wa Mutharika do what it takes to better the lives of the country’s girls and women? In his inaugural speech in June, Malawi’s newly elected fifth president set out his…
News
Women’s Rights During its first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2010, Malawi acknowledged that although its Constitution recognizes the right of women to full and equal protection of the law, and non-discrimination on the basis of their gender or…
News
When she was 12, Chimwemwe, from a rural village in southern Malawi, married a 17-year-old boy. She had started having sex with him when she was 10 because, she said, he gave her money and small gifts, while her parents could not afford to feed her or buy…
Video
The government of Malawi should increase efforts to end widespread child and forced marriage, or risk worsening poverty, illiteracy, and preventable maternal deaths in the country, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today, ahead of International…