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Cote d’Ivoire

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
10%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
33%
International Ranking*

30

* 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: Ky Chung | United Nations

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
10%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
33%
International Ranking*

30

* 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?

27% of girls in Côte d’Ivoire are married before the age of 18 and 7% are married before the age of 15.

Child marriage is most prevalent in the North (where 52% of women aged 20-49 were married before the age of 18) and the North West (48%), and among the Gur and Autre ivoirien ethnic groups.

Child marriage may be more prevalent than current estimates indicate. Only half of all births are registered in Côte d’Ivoire, making it difficult to determine the exact ages of millions of girls.

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

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys. In Côte d’Ivoire, child marriage is also driven by:

What has this country committed to?

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

Côte d’Ivoire co-sponsored the 2016 UN General Assembly resolution on child, early and forced marriage, and the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage. In 2014, Côte d’Ivoire signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Côte d’Ivoire ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1995, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In December 2017, Côte d’Ivoire launched the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage.

In 2002 Côte d’Ivoire ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

In 2011 Côte d’Ivoire 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.

As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Côte d’Ivoire has adopted the Strategic Framework for Strengthening National Child Protection Systems under which protecting children from marriage is a priority.

During its 2014 Universal Periodic Review, concerns were raised about the lack of attention given to the persistence of forced marriage. Côte d’Ivoire supported recommendations to increase targeted, comprehensive measures to eliminate child marriage, including through education.

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

Instead of being treated as a specific issue within government policy, child marriage is included under the umbrella of gender-based violence.

The Ministry of Women, Child Welfare and Solidarity has established a Gender Unit to ensure that gender is considered in all programmes, policies and practices.

From 2013–2015 the government created a plan to accelerate the fight to end child marriage and adolescent pregnancy. The plan included engaging community and religious leaders in Abidjan, Man and Bondoukou to increase sensitivity towards the issue. President Alassane Ouattara supported the initiative and planned to finance a media campaign to encourage women to engage in politics and advocacy. However, the plan has yet to be implemented due to a lack of resources and budget.

Most cases of child marriage are handled by a “Centre Social,” which works with families to identify solutions and manage cases. They often coordinate with a local “Centre d’acceuil” (welcome centres) which provide a variety of services including childcare, vaccinations, nutrition courses, and health services.

In 2014 an unprecedented ruling sentenced a father to a year in prison for attempting to marry his 11-year-old daughter. He was also fined an amount equivalent to six months of the country’s minimum wage.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Marriage Act 1983 the legal minimum age of marriage is 18 years. However a public prosecutor can grant an exemption to the minimum age of marriage for serious reasons and with parental consent.

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)

MINISTÈRE DU PLAN ET DU DÉVELOPPEMENT, Enquête par grappes à indicateurs multiples – Côte d’Ivoire, 2016, (accessed May 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)

Save the Children, Child marriage in Côte d’Ivoire, 2016, (accessed May 2018)

Save the Children, Child marriage in Côte d’Ivoire spotlight, 2017, [unpublished]

UNICEF, Every child’s birth right, inequities and trends in birth registration, 2013, (accessed May 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Côte d’Ivoire, 2014, p.7, p.24, (accessed May 2018)

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

Yahoo News, Ivory Coast court battle in child marriage landmark case, 2014, (accessed May 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)