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Cameroon

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
10%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
31%

* References

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)

Photo credit: ALVF

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
10%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
31%

* References

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

31% of girls in Cameroon are married before their 18th birthday and 10% are married before the age of 15.

Child marriage is most common in Adamaoua province and Extrême-Nord.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Cameroon, child marriage is also driven by:

What has this country committed to?

Cameroon has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Cameroon signed a joint statement at the 2014 Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Cameroon ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1994, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In November 2016 Cameroon launched the African Union Campaign to end child marriage in Africa.

In 1997 Cameroon ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

In 2012 Cameroon ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, including Article 6 which sets the minimum age for marriage as 18.

During its 2013 Universal Periodic Review, Cameroon agreed to intensify awareness-raising campaigns for local authorities, families, traditional and religious leaders and the general population in order to effectively fight against child marriage.

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

UNFPA is working with the government to create call centres where people can report child marriage cases.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Legal changes to Section 356 of the Penal Code, in 2016 raised the minimum age of marriage from 15 years to 18 years for girls and boys.

Source

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [website], 2018, (accessed February 2018)

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [website], 2018, (accessed February 2018)

African Union, Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa: Call to Action, 2013, (accessed February 2018)

Institut National de la Statistique et UNICEF, Enquête par grappes à indicateurs multiples (MICS) 2014 Cameroun, 2015, (accessed March 2018)

International Center for Research on Women, Imagining a Future Free of Child Marriage in Cameroon, [website], 2016, (accessed March 2018)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, (accessed April 2018)

UNFPA, New rules to help end child marriage in Cameroon, [website], 2016, (accessed March 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Cameroon, 2013, p.22, (accessed March 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, (accessed February 2018)

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2017)

Members In Cameroon