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Suriname

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
5%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
19%

* 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
5%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
19%

* 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?

19% of girls in Suriname are married before the age of 18 and 5% are married before their 15th birthday.

Child marriage is much more prevalent in rural areas and in Sipaliwini (where 50% of women aged 20-49 were married before the age of 18) and Brokopondo (45%).

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 Suriname, but available studies show that it is driven by:

  • Level of education: 48% of women with no education were married before the age of 18, compared to only 14% who had completed secondary education or higher.
  • Poverty: 42% of women in Suriname’s poorest households were married before the age of 18, compared to 11% in the richest.
  • Ethnicity: Child marriage is much more common among indigenous, Amerindian, Maroon, Creole and Hindustani communities.

What has this country committed to?

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

Suriname co-sponsored the 2014 UN General Assembly resolution on child, early and forced marriage.

Suriname ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2016 Universal Periodic Review, Suriname agreed to examine recommendations to amend legislation in order to increase the minimum age of marriage in line with international standards.

During Suriname’s 2018 review, the CEDAW Committee expressed concern about the disproportionately high number of rural, Maroon and indigenous girls aged 15-17 who were married, the absence of a national strategy to combat and prevent child marriage and the absence of a legal framework for tribal marriages.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

According to Nieuw Burgerlijk Wetboek van Suriname 2011 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However, it is possible to marry for serious reasons before 18 years with parental consent and if the Minister of Justice grants an exemption.

Source

Ministry of Social Affairs and Housing and General Bureau for Statistics, Suriname Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2010, 2012, (accessed May 2018)

UN CEDAW, Concluding observations on the combined fourth to sixth periodic reports of Suriname, 2018, p.15, (accessed May 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Suriname, 2016, p.24, (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)