“Forced and Early Marriage: A Focus on Central and Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union Countries with Selected Laws from Other Countries”

Forced and early marriage deprives women and young girls of their basic human rights. Forced marriage describes a marriage that takes place without the free or valid consent of one or both of the partners and involves either physical or emotional duress. Early marriage is related to forced marriage because minors are deemed incapable of giving informed consent. Forced and early marriages are serious human rights violations. The requirement for the free and informed consent of both parties to a marriage is recognized in numerous legal instruments at international, national and local levels. Despite this opposition, only a few countries have specifically criminalized the practice. And regardless of the existing opposition and laws, the practices of forced and early marriage continue. This paper provides a brief overview of forced and child marriage from an international perspective and discusses selected international and regional standards on this issue. It includes information about how this problem presents itself in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (CEE/FSU) and discusses selected laws addressing forced and child marriage from other countries.

Thomas, Cheryl
Publisher and location: 
United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW): Geneva