Child marriage by 15
Child marriage by 18
Other key stats
|Are there Girls Not Brides members?||4|
|Does this country have a national strategy or plan?||No|
|Is there a Girls Not Brides National Partnership or coalition?||No|
|Age of marriage without consent or exceptions taken into account||Legal age of marriage - 18 years, no exceptions|
What's the prevalence rate?
What drives child marriage in Rwanda?
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, but available studies suggest that is exacerbated by:
Rurality: Evidence suggests that child marriage is more common rural areas rather than urban areas.
Traditional attitudes: As reported by Action Aid, many people in Rwanda still condone child marriage and violence against women and girls. Additionally, norms around sexuality mean that girls are deterred from seeking contraceptive services. As a result, the majority of girls in Rwanda do not use contraception.
Sexual violence: According to Action Aid, nearly half of all women and girls in Rwanda have experience sexual violence by their 19th birthday. Some girls also engage in transactional sex and exploitative relations with older men (“sugar daddies”) to access money. Sexual violence and unplanned pregnancies can put girls at a increased risk of being married off early.
Displacement: Anecdotal evidence suggests that child marriage is practised in refugee camps.
What international, regional and national commitments has Rwanda made?
Rwanda has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. During its Voluntary National Review at the 2019 High Level Political Forum, Rwanda reported progress on this target.
Rwanda co-sponsored the following Human Rights Council resolutions: the 2013 procedural resolution on child, early and forced marriage, the 2017 resolution on recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts, and the 2019 resolution on the consequences of child marriage. In 2014, Rwanda also signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.
Rwanda co-sponsored the 2013, 2014 and 2016 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced 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.
During its 2015 Universal Periodic Review, Rwanda did not support recommendations to effectively enforce existing legislation in order to prevent and prohibit child 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.
Rwanda is one of the countries where the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)/DREAMS Initiative is working to reduce rates of HIV among adolescent girls and young women.
Rwanda is a partner country of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
What is the government doing to address child marriage?
Following peace and reconstruction efforts after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda is consistently ranked as the top Sub-Saharan African country in closing gender gaps due to its high female labour force and female political participation. While this is a positive step towards greater protection of women and girl’s rights, there is no information available about the measures the Rwandan government is taking to address child marriage.
In 2015, the Commonwealth National Human Rights Institutions agreed a new Declaration, the Kigali Declaration, to prevent and end child marriage, after a two-day working session in Kigali, Rwanda.
What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?
Following amendments in 2016, under the Law No. 32/2016 governing natural persons and family the minimum legal age of marriage is 21 years, without exceptions.
We have 4 members in Rwanda
Content featuring Rwanda
Presentation: participatory monitoring, evaluation and learning
Prepared by CARE, this presentation provides an overview of the participatory community techniques used in a multi-country child marriage programme.
Using SenseMaker to understand girls' lives: lessons learnt from Girl Hub
This short brief provides an overview of Girl Hub’s experience using the innovative SenseMaker participatory research methodology with adolescent girls in Ethiopia and Rwanda.
Presentation: participatory monitoring, evaluation and learning
This presentation prepared by Girl Hub Rwanda provides an overview of participatory techniques which are integral in ensuring girls’ voices are at the centre of their work.
Preventing child marriage in the Commonwealth: the role of education
Written by the Royal Commonwealth Society and Plan UK on the issue of child marriage, this report looks specifically at the role of education in ending this harmful practice.
- Action Aid UK, Rwanda, [website], https://www.actionaid.org.uk/about-us/where-we-work/rwanda (accessed January 2020).
- African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,[website], 2018, https://www.achpr.org/legalinstruments/detail?id=46 (accessed January 2020).
- 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, https://au.int/en/treaties/protocol-african-charter-human-and-peoples-rights-rights-women-africa (accessed January 2020).
- Gender & Adolescence: Global Evidence, Adolescent girls’ capabilities in Rwanda. The state of the evidence, 2017, https://www.gage.odi.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Rwanda-Capabilities-Report-Jan2018-FINAL.docx.pdf (accessed April 2020).
- Global Partnership for Education, Rwanda, [website], https://www.globalpartnership.org/where-we-work/rwanda (accessed February 2020).
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, http://fngeneve.um.dk/en/aboutus/statements/newsdisplaypage/?newsid=6371ad93-8fb0-4c35-b186-820fa996d379 (accessed February 2020).
- National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, Ministry of Health and ICF International, Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey 2014-15, 2015, https://www.dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR316/FR316.pdf (accessed February 2020).
- The Commonwealth, Kigali Declaration, 2015,http://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/inline/Kigali%20Declaration.pdf (accessed February 2020).
- U.S. Department of State, United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, [website], 2019, https://www.state.gov/where-we-work-pepfar/ (accessed January 2020).
- UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Rwanda,2015, p.24, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/RWindex.aspx (accessed February 2020).
- UNFPA Rwanda, How Our Future Depends On A Girl At This Decisive Age. Unfpa Weighs Up New Approach To Protect Girls, [website], 2016, https://rwanda.unfpa.org/en/news/how-our-future-depends-girl-decisive-age-unfpa-weighs-new-approach-protect-girls (accessed February 2020).
- UNICEF DATA, Rwanda, [website], https://data.unicef.org/crvs/rwanda/ (accessed February 2020).
- United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5 (accessed February 2020).
- United States State Department Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017, Rwanda, 2018, https://www.state.gov/reports/2017-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/rwanda/ (accessed February 2020).
- World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2020, 2019, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2020.pdf (accessed February 2020).