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Central African Republic

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
29%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
68%
International Ranking*

2

* 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: Pierre Holtz | UNICEF

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
29%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
68%
International Ranking*

2

* 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?

68% of girls in Central African Republic are married before the age of 18 and 29% are married before the age of 15.

According to UNICEF, Central African Republic has the second highest prevalence rate of child marriage in the world.

Child marriage is most prevalent in Ouaka, Basse Kotto and Nana Mambéré and Kémo and among the Haoussa, Banda and Yakoma-Sango ethnic groups.

Unlike global trends, household wealth and level of education does not significantly affect child marriage rates in Central African Republic.

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 Central African Republic, child marriage is also driven by:

What has this country committed to?

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

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

Central African Republic ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1991, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In 2003 Central African Republic signed, but has not yet ratified, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

In 2008 Central African Republic signed, but has not yet 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 2017 review, the UN Child Rights Committee expressed concern that, under customary practices, girls as young as 16 can marry with parental consent. It also raised concerns about Article 105 of the 1997 Family Code, which enables kidnappers to marry girls and leaves child brides with little legal protection.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Family Code 1998 the minimum age of marriage is 18 years. However individuals can marry under the age of 18 with parental consent or if a state prosecutor dispenses with the age requirement based on serious grounds.

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)

Human Rights Watch, “They said we are their slaves”, 2017, (accessed June 2018)

ICASEES, Enquête par grappes à indicateurs multiples MICS, RCA 2010 Rapport final, 2010, (accessed June 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)

Reuters, In Central African Republic, Muslim child brides fight for daughters’ rights, [website], 2018, (accessed June 2018)

Statistica, The 20 countries with the lowest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in 2017 (in U.S. dollars), [website], 2018, (accessed June 2018)

Thomas Reuters Foundation, For refugee girls from Central African Republic, hospitality in Cameroon comes at a price, [website], 2016, (accessed June 2018)

UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Central African Republic, 2017, p.5, p.15, (accessed June 2018)

UN OHCHR, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women considers report of the Central African Republic, 2014, (accessed June 2018)

UN Women, Through the lens: Daily life in Cameroon refugee camps, [website], 2016, (accessed June 2018)

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

United States State Department Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017, Central African Republic, 2018, (accessed June 2018)

Vice News, Families are marrying their kids off to save them from sexual violence in the CAR, [website], 2018, (accessed June 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)