Resolution on child marriage adopted at the 16th Francophonie Summit

Photo credit: Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie

The Heads of States and governments of French-speaking countries (also known as “La Francophonie”) took a stand against child marriage at the 16th Francophonie Summit, held in Madagascar on 26-27 November, by adopting a resolution to end child, early and forced marriage. The resolution was introduced by Canada and Benin. Read it here (in French).

The “Francophonie” is made up of 57 states, including a number of countries with high rates of child marriage. Among the top 10 countries affected by child marriage, six are in Francophone Africa: Niger, the Central African Republic, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.

The resolution reaffirms French-speaking governments’ commitments to, among others:

  • Advance the Sustainable Development Goals’ agenda and target 5.3 to end child, early and forced marriage;
  • Establish laws, policies and coordinated governmental mechanisms to prevent and end child marriage and support married girls;
  • Promote the constructive participation and active consultation of girls, community dialogue, and meaningful involvement of men and boys.

The Summit’s final statement strongly condemns all forms of violence against children, including practices such as child, early and forced marriages. Read the statement (in French).

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, seized the Summit as an opportunity to reiterate his government’s commitment to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls worldwide. He said: “Women and girls are victims of sexual and physical violence. They are married, often at a young age, without their consent. […] They are subjected to genital mutilation. Enough is enough! There is no excuse for such practices and violations of their fundamental rights.” Read the full speech (in French).