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Italy in the UN – against child and forced marriages

Italy is in the forefront in the UN against the scourge of child and forced marriages. “The ending child marriages: towards a more gender equitable world” event was held  in the margins of the General Assembly to promote more awareness of a phenomenon that is impacting dramatically on female populations and on socio-economic development prospects. Minister for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini opened the meeting organised by Italy and UNFPA, Canada, Zambia and Yemen. The agenda included the screening of a video shot in Niger by UNFPA and the testimony of two young victims. According to UNICEF estimates, forced marriages before the age of 18 affect 41% of women between the ages of 20 and 49, with a greater incidence in eastern Africa and southeast Asia. This is a violation of civil rights which places the health of young women at risk who become pregnant early in life and repeatedly, and leads to episodes of domestic violence that dramatically effects literacy and socio-economic development levels of entire nations. The event’s aim is to reaffirm the issue as one of the UN’s human rights priorities, ahead of the adoption by the General Assembly of an initial resolution banning the practice. Italy is a member of a transregional group that promotes multilateral initiatives aimed at the adoption of resolutions on this phenomenon, both within the framework of human rights as well as the UN General Assembly. Rome is also a signatory of the International Charter on female genital mutilation and forced marriages resulting from the London summit held in London in July under the aegis of UNICEF.