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Guinea

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
17%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
47%
International Ranking*

9

* 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: Dominic Chavez | World Bank

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
17%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
47%
International Ranking*

9

* 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?

47% of girls in Guinea are married before their 18th birthday and 17% are married before the age of 15.

Guinea has the ninth highest prevalence of child marriage globally.

2% of Guinean boys are married before the age of 18.

Child marriage is most prevalent in Labé (where 76% of 20-49 year old women were married before the age of 18), Moyenne Guinée (72%), Kankan and Haute Guinée (69%), Mamou (68%) and Faranah (65%).

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 Guinea, child marriage is exacerbated by: 

  • Poverty: More than 50% of the Guinean population lives below the poverty line. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone have placed additional strain on its struggling economy, and the Ebola crisis in 2014 further weakened fragile public services. Within this context some girls are married off as a perceived survival tactic, especially in rural areas where rates of child marriage are more than twice as high as in urban areas.
  • Level of education:63% of women with no education were married before the age of 18, compared to only 26% who had completed secondary education or higher.
  • Harmful traditional practices: Child marriage is particularly common among the Fulani, Malinke and Susu ethnic groups and forested Guineans, where inherited traditions regarding the age at which a girl is ready for marriage are passed down between generations.
  • Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C): According to UNICEF data, 95% of Guinean women and girls have experienced FGM/C, which is linked to a desire to control female sexuality and prepare girls for marriage.
  • Polygamy: In Guinea, marriage is considered a formal union of two families rather than a choice between a man and woman. High status is attached to men who have multiple young brides, and, according to 2017 MICS data, more than 35% of Guinean girls aged 15-19 are in polygamous unions.
  • Religion: Both Islam and Christianity are considered to justify narratives of patriarchal sexual dominance in Guinea, which can disempower girls and limit their role to that of a wife and mother.
  • Pre-marital sex: Marriage often happens soon after a girl reaches puberty in an attempt by families to control girls’ sexuality and prevent pregnancy outside marriage.

Adolescent pregnancy: 37% of women in Guinea aged 20-24 years had their first child before the age of 18.

What has this country committed to?

Guinea has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Guinea reported progress made to address child marriage in its 2018 Voluntary National Review at the High Level Political Forum, the mechanism by which countries report progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Guinea co-sponsored the following Human Rights Council resolutions: the 2013 procedural resolution on child, early and forced marriage, and the 2017 resolution on recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts. In 2014, Guinea also signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Guinea co-sponsored the 2013, 2014 and 2018 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage.

Guinea acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and ratified 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 2019, the UN Child Rights Committee expressed concerns about the prevalence of child marriage in Guinea, the impunity of perpetrators and the insufficient protection schemes available to children. The Committee urged the country to take active measures to put an end to child marriage.

During its 2015 Universal Periodic Review, Guinea agreed to examine recommendations to conduct educational and advocacy campaigns to enforce existing legislation on child marriage, and to take preventative actions to protect girls in rural areas from being married off.

 

In 2017 Guinea became the 21st country to launch the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa.

In 1999 Guinea ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

In 2012 Guinea 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), in 2017 Guinea adopted the Strategic Framework for Strengthening National Child Protection Systems under which protecting children from marriage is a priority. In June 2019, the ECOWAS Heads of State endorsed the ECOWAS Child Policy and Strategic Action Plan and the 2019-2030 Roadmap on prevention and response to child marriage.

In addition, in July 2019, the ECOWAS First Ladies signed “The Niamey Declaration: Call to End Child Marriage and to promote the Education and empowerment of Girls”, calling Member States to initiate legislative, institutional and budgetary reforms to implement the Roadmap.

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

Guinea is a partner country of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

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

In January 2017, 106 communities publicly declared the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) and child marriage. The declaration was hosted by the Minister of Social Action, Gender and Children, the Government of the Administrative Region of Faranah and other local authorities.

Guinea’s Minister for Social Action, the Promotion of Women and Children moderated a session on the role of multi-stakeholder dialogues in defining a common vision of ending child marriage in West and Central Africa at the 2017 High Level Meeting on Ending Child Marriage.

The Young Girl Leaders’ Club of Guinea holds regular debates and campaigns to teach girls about what marriage entails.

Any hyperlinks to this?

It was already in the profile, I wasn’t able to find any reference

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

According to the Guinean Children’s Code 2008 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However the President of Guinea by request of the Minister of Justice may allow individuals to marry before 18 years 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, https://www.achpr.org/legalinstruments/detail?id=46 (accessed January 2020).

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, https://au.int/en/treaties/protocol-african-charter-human-and-peoples-rights-rights-women-africa (accessed January 2020).

African Union, Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa: Call to Action, 2013, https://au.int/sites/default/files/pages/32905-file-campaign_to_end_child_marriage_in_africa_call_for_action-_english.pdf (accessed February 2020).

Bransky, Enoch and Long, Child Marriage in Sierra Leone and Guinea: Cultural Roots and Girl Centred Solutions, 2017, https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/1770d8_a9bc1ddb4c8a4c1c8c72b41626002932.pdf (accessed February 2020).

ECOWAS, ECOWAS First Ladies affirm Commitment to End Child Marriage and Promote Girl-Child Education in the Region, [website], 2019, https://www.ecowas.int/ecowas-first-ladies-affirm-commitment-to-end-child-marriage-and-promote-girl-child-education-in-the-region/ (accessed February 2020).

ECOWAS, Final Communique. Fifty-fifth Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, 2019, https://www.ecowas.int/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Final-Communiqué_55th-Summit_Abuja_29-June-2019-1.pdf (accessed February 2020).

Girl Summit 2014, The Girl Summit Charter on Ending FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, [website], 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/459236/Public_Girl_Summit_Charter_with_Signatories.pdf (accessed February 2020).

Girls Not Brides, 10 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON CHILD MARRIAGE, [website], 2017, https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/10-takeaways-west-central-africa-high-level-meeting-child-marriage/ (accessed February 2020).

Global Citizen, These Teen Girls Are Stopping Child Marriages in West Africa, [website], 2017, https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/teenage-girls-stop-child-marriages/ (accessed February 2020).

Global Partnership for Education, Guinea, [website], https://www.globalpartnership.org/where-we-work/guinea (accessed February 2020).

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Guinea: Forced marriages, including prevalence; legislation affecting forced marriages; state protection; ability of women to refuse a forced marriage, 2015, http://www.refworld.org/docid/563c5f164.html (February 2020).

Institut National de la Statistique Guinée and ICF International, Guinée Enquête Démographique et de Santé et à Indicateurs Multiples (EDS-MICS) 2012, 2013 Rockville, https://dhsprogram.com/publications/publication-FR280-DHS-Final-Reports.cfm (accessed February 2020).

Institut National de la Statistique/INS and ICF, Enquête Démographique et de Santé en Guinée 2018, 2018, https://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR353/FR353.pdf (accessed February 2020).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, http://fngeneve.um.dk/en/aboutus/statements/newsdisplaypage/?newsid=6371ad93-8fb0-4c35-b186-820fa996d379 (accessed February 2020).

RÉPUBLIQUE DE GUINEE et UNICEF, Enquête par grappes à indicateurs multiples 2016, 2017, https://mics-surveys-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/MICS5/West%20and%20Central%20Africa/Guinea/2016/Final/Guinea%202016%20MICS_French.pdf (accessed February 2020).

UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined third to sixth periodic reports of Guinea, 2019, p.4, 6, 7, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC%2fC%2fGIN%2fCO%2f3-6&Lang=en (accessed February 2020).

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Guinea, 2015, p.20, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/GNindex.aspx (accessed February 2020).

UNICEF global databases 2020, based on Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), and other national surveys. Population data from United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2019). World Population Prospects 2019, Online Edition. Rev. 1.

UNICEF and International Center for Research on Women, Child Marriage, Adolescent Pregnancy and Family Formation in West and Central Africa, 2015, https://n2r4h9b5.stackpathcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Child_Mariage_Adolescent_Pregnancy_and_Family_Formation.pdf (accessed February 2020).

UNICEF DATA, Adolescent birth rate, [website], https://data.unicef.org/resources/data_explorer/unicef_f/?ag=UNICEF&df=GLOBAL_DATAFLOW&ver=1.0&dq=.MNCH_BIRTH18+MNCH_ABR+MNCH_ADO_ALCOHOL+MNCH_ADO_TOBACCO..&startPeriod=2015&endPeriod=2020 (accessed February 2020).

UNICEF DATA, Female genital mutilation (FGM), [website], https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/female-genital-mutilation/ (accessed February 2020).

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5 (accessed February 2020).

World Bank, Guinea, [website], 2019, https://data.worldbank.org/country/guinea?view=chart (accessed February 2020).

* 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)