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Dominican Republic

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
12%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
36%
International Ranking*

22

* 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: IPPF/WHR

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
12%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
36%
International Ranking*

22

* 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?

36% of girls in the Dominican Republic are married before the age of 18 and 12% are married before their 15th birthday.

Child marriage is most prevalent in Enriquillo (where 49% of women aged 20-49 were married before the age of 18), El Valle (47%) and Cibao Noroeste (46%).

Informal unions are common in the Dominican Republic, whereby girls move into the homes of adult men and become their wives. These are difficult to report as they are not officially registered by civil registration systems, and place girls in a vulnerable position with no legal protection.

A 2017 World Bank study shows that ending child marriage in the Dominican Republic could result in more than USD1 billion savings through additional wages earned by women

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 the Dominican Republic, child marriage is also driven by:

What has this country committed to?

The Dominican Republic has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Dominican Republic reported substantively on progress and the interventions being made to address child marriage and adolescent pregnancy in its 2018 Voluntary National Review at the High Level Political Forum, the mechanism through which countries report their progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

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

The Dominican Republic also co-sponsored the 2013 and 2014 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage.

The Dominican Republic 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 1982, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In 2013, the CEDAW Committee recommended that the Dominican Republic raise the legal minimum age of marriage for girls to 18 and adopt effective measures to prevent early marriages.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

According to the Law on the Acts of Civil Status 1944, the minimum age of marriage is 18 years; however, girls may marry at 15 years and boys may marry at 16 years with parental and judicial consent.

In May 2017, the country’s parliament voted to close a loophole in marriage law which allowed girls to marry before the age of 18 with parental consent. As of 2018, the law is awaiting approval from the Senate.

Source

Oficina Nacional de Estadística y UNICEF, Encuesta Nacional de Hogares de Propósitos Múltiples – Encuesta de Indicadores Múltiples por Conglomerados 2014, 2016, (accessed March 2018)

Plan International, Dominican Republic Takes Steps to Ban Child Marriage, [website], 2017, (accessed March 2018)

Plan International, NIÑAS ESPOSADAS Caracterización del matrimonio forzado de niñas y adolescentes en las provincias de AZUA, BARAHONA, PEDERNALES, ELÍAS PIÑA Y SAN JUAN, 2017, (accessed March 2018)

UNICEF, Ending Child Marriage, Progress and Prospects, 2017, (accessed March 2018)

UN General Assembly, Compilation prepared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (b) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 and paragraph 5 of the annex to Council resolution 16/21 Dominican Republic, 2013, p.7, (accessed March 2018)

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

World Bank, IMPACTO ECONÓMICO DEL MATRIMONIO INFANTIL Y LAS UNIONES TEMPRANAS RESUMEN PARA LA REPÚBLICA DOMINICANA, 2017, (accessed March 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 Dominican Republic