Visit our new interactive Atlas!

Sao Tome and Principe

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
8%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
35%
International Ranking*

24

* 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
8%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
35%
International Ranking*

24

* 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?

35% of girls in Sao Tome and Principe are married before the age of 18 and 8% are married before their 15th birthday.

Child marriage is most prevalent in the east (where 43% of women aged 20-49 were married before the age of 18) and south east of the country (42%).

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 Sao Tome and Principe, child marriage is also driven by:

What has this country committed to?

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

Sao Tome and Principe co-sponsored the 2013 UN General Assembly resolution on child, early and forced marriage, and signed a joint statement at the 2014 Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Sao Tome and Principe acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, 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 2003, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

Sao Tome and Principe has not signed or ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

In 2010 Sao Tome and Principe signed, but has not yet 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.

During its 2013 review, the UN Child Rights Committee recommended that the government review rules regarding exceptions for marriage below the minim age of 18, and accompany this with awareness-raising campaigns to prevent child marriage.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Regula Juridicamente as instituicoes de familia 1977 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years for girls and boys. In exceptional cases, and with parental, guardian or court consent, girls aged 14 years and boys aged 16 may marry.

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, Sao Tome and Principe Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2014, Final Report, 2016, (accessed May 2018)

UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined second to fourth periodic reports of Sao Tome and Principe, adopted by the Committee at its sixty-fourth session (16 September–4 October 2013), 2013, p.2,  (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)