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The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
1%
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
1%
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 Macedonia are married before the age of 18 and 1% are married before their 15th birthday.

Child marriage is most prevalent in Vardar, where 19% of women aged 20-49 were married before their 18th birthday. It is almost three times more prevalent in rural parts of the country.

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 Macedonia, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Level of education: 24% of women with primary education or lower were married as children, compared to only 1% who had completed higher education. In Roma settlements, 61% of women with no education and 50% with primary education were married before the age of 18. Some families believe that a girl’s place is at home, and therefore remove them from school in order to prepare them for marriage.
  • Poverty: 21% of women living in Macedonia’s poorest households married as children, compared to only 4% in the richest households. 57% of women living in the poorest households in Roma settlements were married before the age of 18.
  • Ethnicity: Patriarchal attitudes among Roma communities place high value on family honour and preserving a girl’s virginity, which drives child marriage. Some Roma girls are married off to men who work abroad in Western countries, led by a belief that this will offer better opportunities in life.

What has this country committed to?

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

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

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

Macedonia deposited the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and deposited the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1994, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2013 review, the CEDAW Committee urged the government to raise awareness of the harmful impact of child marriage among Roma and Albanian communities, effectively investigate and prosecute cases of child marriage, and adopt measures to register all marriages taking place.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

According to the Law on Family 2004 the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However a 16 year old may marry with permission of the court and after obtaining an opinion from a health institution and have been provided expert assistance at the Center for Social Work.

Source

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, (accessed April 2018)

Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science, and Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Government of Republic of Macedonia, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, Macedonia, 2011, 2012, (accessed May 2018)

UNFPA, Child Marriage in Macedonia (Overview), 2014, (accessed May 2018)

UN CEDAW, Concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic report of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, adopted by the Committee at its fifty-fourth session, 2013, p.10, (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)