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Central African Republic

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
29%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
68%
Classement international*

2

* Références

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.

Photo credit: Pierre Holtz | UNICEF

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
29%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
68%
Classement international*

2

* Références

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

68% of girls in Central African Republic are married before the age of 18 and 29% are married before the age of 15.

CAR has the second highest prevalence of child marriage globally.

28% of boys in Central African Republic are married before the age of 18. This makes Central African Republic the country in the world with the highest prevalence of child marriage among boys.

Child marriage is most prevalent in Ouaka, Basse Kotto and Nana Mambéré and Kémo, and among the Haoussa, Banda and Yakoma-Sango ethnic groups.

Unlike global trends, household wealth and level of education does not significantly affect child marriage rates in Central African Republic, which has seen one of the slowest declines in child marriage rates in West and Central Africa.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys.

In Central African Republic, child marriage is exacerbated by:

  • Poverty: Central African Republic has one of the lowest GDP in the world. With high poverty rates, many families marry off their daughters in exchange for bride price and to reduce the perceived financial burden a girl places on her family.
  • Gender norms: According to UNESCO, less than a quarter of the female adult population in Central African Republic can read and write. Girls’ rights are often neglected and their only expectation is to get married and have children.
  • Power dynamics: Under the country’s legal code, men can take up to four wives. Younger wives are seen to increase the social status bestowed on a family.
  • Religion: Child marriage is reportedly more common among Muslim communities.
  • Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C):24% of girls and women aged 15-49 have experienced FGM/C. This is often used to control female sexuality and is regarded as a sign of readiness for marriage.

Humanitarian settings can encompass a wide range of situations before, during, and after natural disasters, conflicts, and epidemics. They exacerbate poverty, insecurity, and lack of access to services such as education, factors which all drive child marriage. In the case of CAR, since the conflict started in 2013, the violence between armed groups and against civilians has forced thousands of people to flee. At the end of 2019, a quarter of the CAR population (1.2 million people out of 4.7 million) was either internally displaced or living as a refugee in neighbouring countries.

  • Armed conflict: The conflict has exacerbated child marriage cases. Families often see marriage as a way of protecting daughters from sexual violence during times of insecurity. Some girls have been forcibly kidnapped and married off to ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka members. Orphans are particularly vulnerable to child marriage. The closure of schools due to insecurity also increases the risk of being married off.

Displacement: Some refugees from Central African Republic have been forced into marriage upon arrival in eastern Cameroon. Many families live in cramped, under-resourced conditions and some marry off their daughters in exchange for money. In 2016, UNICEF estimated that more than 90,000 child refugees in Cameroon were out of school and vulnerable to sexual abuse and child marriage.

What has this country committed to?

Central African Republic has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The government did not provide an update on progress towards this target during its Voluntary National Review at the 2018 High Level Political Forum.

Central African Republic co-sponsored the 2013, 2014 and 2018 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage, and signed a joint statement at the 2014 Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Central African Republic ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1991, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2017 review, the UN Child Rights Committee expressed concern that, under customary practices, girls as young as 16 can marry with parental consent. It also raised concerns about Article 105 of the 1997 Family Code, which enables kidnappers to marry girls and leaves child brides with little legal protection.

During its 2018 Universal Periodic Review, CAR agreed to review recommendations to set the minimum age of marriage to 18 years for both men and women, increase efforts in favour of gender equality and end all forms of discrimination and violence against women, including early and forced marriage, and establish a warning mechanism to combat early marriages.

In 2003 Central African Republic signed, but has not yet ratified, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

In 2008 Central African Republic signed, but has not yet 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.

Central African Republic is a partner country of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Family Code 1998 the minimum age of marriage is 18 years. 

However individuals can marry under the age of 18 with parental consent or if a state prosecutor dispenses with the age requirement based on serious grounds.

Source

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).

European Commission, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, Central African Republic, [website], 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/echo/where/africa/central-african-republic_en (accessed January 2020).

Gastón, C. M., et al., Child marriage among boys: a global overview of available data,Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies,14:3,p. 219-228, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1080/17450128.2019.1566584 (accessed January 2020).

Global Partnership for Education, Central African Republic, [website], https://www.globalpartnership.org/where-we-work/central-african-republic (accessed January 2020).

Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, A/HRC/40/12, 2019, p. 18-20, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/CFIndex.aspx (accessed January 2020).

Human Rights Watch, “They said we are their slaves”, 2017, https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/10/05/they-said-we-are-their-slaves/sexual-violence-armed-groups-central-african (accessed January 2020).

ICASEES, Enquête par grappes à indicateurs multiples MICS, RCA 2010 Rapport final, 2010, https://mics-surveys-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/MICS4/West%20and%20Central%20Africa/Central%20African%20Republic/2010/Final/Central%20African%20Republic%202010%20MICS_French.pdf (accessed January 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 January 2020).

Reuters, In Central African Republic, Muslim child brides fight for daughters’ rights, [website], 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-centralafrica-women-education/in-central-african-republic-muslim-child-brides-fight-for-daughters-rights-idUSKCN1GK0OJ (accessed January 2020).

Thomas Reuters Foundation,Child marriage threatens future of young Central African Republic refugees in Cameroon, [website], 2016, http://news.trust.org/item/20161108060345-ih2oh (accessed January 2020).

UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Central African Republic, 2017, p.5, p.15, http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC/C/CAF/CO/2&Lang=En (accessed January 2020).

UN OHCHR, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women considers report of the Central African Republic, 2014, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14855&LangID=E (accessed January 2020).

UN Women, Through the lens: Daily life in Cameroon refugee camps, [website], 2016, http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/multimedia/2016/5/photo-daily-life-cameroon-refugee-camps (accessed January 2020).

UNFPA and UNICEF, Child Marriage in West and Central Africa At a Glance, 2018, https://www.unicef.org/wca/reports/child-marriage-west-and-central-africa (accessed January 2020).

UNICEF Africa, Early Marriage for Central African Refugees, , 2016, https://youtu.be/cdYCyeW6BJ0 (accessed January 2020).

UNICEF, Education Under Threat in West and Central Africa, 2019, https://www.unicef.org/media/57801/file/Education under threat in wca 2019.pdf (accessed January 2020).

UNICEF, Central African Republic, [website],

https://data.unicef.org/crvs/central-african-republic/ (accessed January 2020).

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5 (accessed January 2020).

United States Department of State, Human Rights and Labor, 2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Central African Republic, 2019, https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/central-african-republic/ (accessed January 2020).

Vice News, Families are marrying their kids off to save them from sexual violence in the CAR, [website], 2018, https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/kzxd7a/families-are-marrying-their-kids-off-to-save-them-from-sexual-violence-in-the-car (accessed January 2020).

World Bank, GDP (current US$), [website], https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD (accessed January 2020).

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.