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Early Marriage: A Violation of Girls' Fundamental Human Rights in Africa

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image of The International Journal of Children's Rights

Although African countries have ratified international human rights treaties that recognize girls' fundamental human rights to life, education, non-discrimination, freedom from degrading, inhumane and cruel treatment, and protection from harmful cultural practices, girls' human rights continue to be violated because of the prevalent practice of early marriages in most African countries. Whereas early marriages affect both girls and boys, girls are disproportionally affected by this practice which is rooted in culture and religion. Girls who get married before they are 18 years old are not physically, emotionally and mentally prepared for their roles as mothers and wives. African countries have an important role to play in ending early marriages to stop the human rights violations that girls experience when they get married before they are 18 years.

Affiliations: 1: Legal Intern, Chambers, International Criminal Court, The Hague, The Netherlands Rita; ;, Email:


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