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Denmark

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

There is no publicly available government data on child marriage in Denmark.

In 2016, Denmark was named one of the top ten best countries to be a girl by Save the Children. The index uses a range of indicators, including child marriage, lower secondary school completion, female political participation, adolescent fertility and maternal mortality.

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.

There is limited information on child marriage in Denmark.

What has this country committed to?

Denmark has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The government did not provide an update on progress towards this target during its Voluntary National Review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum.

Denmark co-sponsored the 2017 Human Rights Council resolution recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts.

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

Denmark 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 1983, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In 2015 the CEDAW Committee raised concerns that Denmark’s efforts to combat forced marriage among migrants, including requiring spouses to be at least 24 years of age during reunification cases, restricts women’s rights to family life. It urged Denmark to explore alternative options to combatting forced marriage.

At the Girl Summit in July 2014, the government signed a charter committing to end child marriage by 2020.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

According to the Law on Marriage Concession and Dissolution the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However Section 22b (3) of the law also recognises marriages that have been concluded abroad without giving a minimum age.

Source

Girl Summit 2014, The Girl Summit Charter on Ending FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, [website], 2015, (accessed February 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, Which are the best and worst countries to be a girl?, 2016, [website], 2018, (accessed March 2018)

UN CEDAW, Concluding observations on the eighth periodic report of Denmark, 2015, p.10, (accessed April 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)