Visit our new interactive Atlas!

Haiti

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
3%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
18%

* 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

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
3%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
18%

* 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?

18% of girls in Haiti are married before their 18th birthday and 3% are married before the age of 15.

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 very limited information on child marriage in Haiti, but available studies show that it is driven by:

  • Humanitarian context: The 2010 earthquake reportedly led to an increase in child marriages. This is common in post-disaster contexts where children are unprotected, vulnerable and are sometimes married off as a protection mechanism.
  • Traditional customs: In the case of sexual violence, some girls are forced to engage in a marriage or plasaj with perpetrators through out-of-court settlements.

What has this country committed to?

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

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

Haiti 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, Haiti signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Haiti ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1995, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1981, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2016 Universal Periodic Review, Haiti supported recommendations to establish a legal framework to better protect girls from forced marriage, and to establish a minimum age of marriage of 18 for both girls and boys.

During its 2016 review, the UN Child Rights Committee expressed concern that girls may be married at 15 under Article 133 of the Civil Code. It also raised concerns that the legal status of a child of 15 can be waived by parental decision, leading to his or her treatment as an adult under the law. This places girls who marry young or become divorced in an especially vulnerable position.

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

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Civil Code 1982 the minimum legal age of marriage in Haiti is 15 years for girls and 18 years for boys. However the President of Haiti can grant age exemptions to this for “serious reasons”.

Source

Government of Haiti, Enquête Mortalité, Morbidité et Utilisation des Services, Haïti, 2012, 2013, (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)

MSPP, IHE et ICF International, Enquête Mortalité, Morbidité et Utilisation des Services, Haïti, 2012, 2013, (accessed May 2018)

The BMJ, Earthquakes lead to boom in Nepal’s unregulated surrogacy industry, [website], 2015, (accessed June 2018)

UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined second and third periodic reports of Haiti, 2016, p.5, (accessed May 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Haiti, 2016, p.17, (accessed May 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)