Ethiopia: Cooperative Efforts to End Early Marriage

Stakeholders were asked to do their part to end early marriages. The Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) has called on stakeholders to play their part in solving the problem in a sustainable manner as it is an inhumane act that can cause complex physical and psychological harm to women and adolescents.

A panel discussion was held at the Zahab Hotel on how to prevent early marriage together with the support of the Jerusalem Children's and Community Development Organization, the co-ordination of Yes Multi Media Production and the Swedish International Development Association (SIDA).

The panel discussion was attended by various governmental and non-governmental organizations, art and media institutions and other stakeholders an introductory article was presented on the situation of early marriage in Ethiopia, in particular the impact of COVID-19 on children.

In her opening remarks at the panel discussion under the motto 'We will all get married', Zebider Bogale, Adviser to the Minister of Children's Affairs at the Ministry, said: "The government is committed to enforcing international treaties that have significantly contributed to ending harmful traditional practices, including early marriage, designing supportive national legal frameworks, and strengthening the capacity of the executive."

She said the ministry, in collaboration with stakeholders, has been carrying out a number of activities to help curb harmful traditional practices, especially early marriage and female genital mutilation.

"For instance" she said, "A roadmap is being developed to help implement our country's commitment to end these practices by 2025."

In addition, it has come a long way in bringing about fundamental change in society through broad awareness and mobilization, improving existing laws, developing new strategies, and establishing and strengthening community alliances.

However, in addition to the fact that the problem is entrenched and the practice is constantly deteriorating, she said there was a lack of coordination among the executive and there was a gap in action against the perpetrators.

Therefore, in order to save women and young children from early marriage and circumcision she called on all parties to make every effort to achieve the ten-year perspective development plan and the sustainable development goals within the time frame. She said that there are useful inputs from the discussion.

Ethiopia is committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with the target of the Sustainable Development Goals. During its Voluntary National Review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum, the government highlighted that its Women and Policy strategies address the elimination of child marriage.

Ethiopia co-sponsored the 2017 Human Rights Council resolution recognizing the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts, and the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution to end child, early and forced marriage, recognizing that it is a violation of human rights.

Ethiopia co-sponsored the 2013 and 2014 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage, and also co-sponsored the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage. In 2014, Ethiopia signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

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