Visit our new interactive Atlas!

Rwanda

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
n/a
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
7%

* 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)

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
n/a
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
7%

* 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?

7% of girls in Rwanda are married before their 18th birthday.

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 Rwanda.

Following peace and reconstruction efforts after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has been named as one of the world’s top five countries in closing gender gaps due to its high female labour force and female political participation. Although it is currently unclear what impact this will have on child marriage, it is a positive step towards greater protection of women and girl’s rights.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that child marriage is practiced in refugee camps and in rural areas rather than urban areas.

What has this country committed to?

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

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

Rwanda co-sponsored the 2013, 2014 and 2016 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, Rwanda signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Rwanda 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 1981, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In 2001 Rwanda ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

In 2004 Rwanda 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.

In 2015 Rwanda signed the Kigali Declaration, which sets out a comprehensive framework for national human rights institutions to strengthen efforts to prevent and eliminate child marriage.

During its 2015 Universal Periodic Review, Rwanda did not support recommendations to effectively enforce existing legislation in order to prevent and prohibit child marriage.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Civil Code 1988 the minimum legal age of marriage is 21 years. However under Article 171 of the Code the Minister of Justice or his delegate may dispense with the minimum age requirement for serious reasons.

Source

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [website], 2018, (accessed February 2018)

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, (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)

National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, Ministry of Health and ICF International, Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey 2014-15, 2015, (accessed May 2018)

The Commonwealth, Kigali Declaration, 2015, (accessed May 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Rwanda, 2015, p.24, (accessed May 2018)

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

United States State Department Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017, Rwanda, 2018, (accessed May 2018)

World Economic Forum, How Rwanda beats the United States and France in gender equality, [website], 2017, (accessed June 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)