“The position adopted by the United Nations on working to achieve a ban, within the next 12 months, on early and forced marriages is excellent news. And all the more symbolic as it comes immediately in the wake of Universal Children’s Day”. This was Foreign Minister Emma Bonino’s comment on the approval by the UN General Assembly Committee’s Third Committee of the Resolution on “Child, Early and Frced Marriage” promoted by Italy and 9 other countries.
“I am even more pleased if we consider that the resolution was co-sponsored by a record number of 106 countries and was approved by consensus. This is a strong signal of the growing awareness of the issue among states and civil society, an awareness that gives us cause to hope for a common determination by the international community to eradicate this practice. A practice that attacks the rights of millions of children and adolescents – boys and girls – throughout the world”.
“The outcome of the vote”, continued the Foreign Minister, “validates the Italian line on human rights and the fundamental freedoms, which are the lodestar of our foreign policy. It validates, too, the credibility in matters concerning rights that our campaigns – for example the campaign to ban female genital mutilation [FGM] – and our unceasing efforts to influence opinion have won us in the United Nations.”
The Resolution gives the UN Secretary General a mandate to set up a group of experts in this field to produce a report on the topic, which will complement the study commissioned by the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In a year’s time these documents will provide the basis for a further Resolution to eliminate forced and early marriage, following the model established with respect to FGM.