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Latvia

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 Latvia.

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 Latvia.

Convenience ‘sham’ marriages are particularly common among women under the age of 20 from poorer households. This involves either voluntary or forced marriage to a third country national outside Latvia.

What has this country committed to?

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

Latvia co-sponsored the 2017 Human Rights Council resolution recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts, and the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution to end child, early and forced marriage, recognising that it is a violation of human rights.

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

Latvia acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1992, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

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

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

In 2011, the government implemented an awareness-raising campaign to inform the public about the risks of becoming involved in “convenience” marriages.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

According to Civillikums 1992 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However, individuals can marry at 16 years with parental consent or in some cases permission by the court.

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)

Report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Child, Early and Forced Marriage to the Human Rights Council pursuant to resolution A/HRC/RES/24/23, Information on practice in the Republic of Latvia, 2013, [unpublished]

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)