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Ending child marriage a “personal commitment” of US Secretary of State Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and South African Foreign Minister Nkoana-Mashabane address reporters. Credit: U.S. State Department

At the close of her recent tour around sub-Saharan Africa, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described ending child marriage as a “personal commitment” of hers and added that the United States will “intensify our diplomacy and development work to end child marriage”.

During a press conference in South Africa, Secretary Clinton emphasised the wide reach of the child marriage, noting that one out of every three girls in the developing world is married before the age of 18. She spoke about the negative impact that marriage before 18 can have on a young girl’s life—including on her education, her health and her potential—as well as the impact on the wider community.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks on child marriage:

“Finally, I want to say a brief word about an issue that doesn’t get nearly enough attention in the world, and that’s child marriage. This is an issue that The Elders have taken on. And it’s good that they have, because an estimated one in three girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18. That means they are less likely to get an education, more likely to encounter life-threatening health problems, which shortchanges and shortcuts them and sometimes their lives, and robs their communities and their countries of their skills and talents.”

“Yesterday, when I had the great honor and personal delight of visiting Madiba, I talked with Graça Machel at their home about the commitment that the Elders, of which she is a member, has made. And I support the Girls Not Brides Partnership founded by President Mandela. The United States will intensify our diplomacy and development work to end child marriage, and it’s a personal commitment of mine as well as a great value that South Africa, the United States, and so many people around the world share.”

“So Minister, we have a full and formidable agenda, but we’re chipping away at it, and I believe that both of us plus our teams are more than up to it. But again, thank you for your warm hospitality here, and I’m delighted to have this chance to see you again on a personal level and to trade ideas on the important opportunities and challenges facing us.”

For a transcript of the whole press conference or to see a video of the speech, visit The US Department of State website.