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Guatemala

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
6%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
30%

* 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: Maria Fleischmann | World Bank

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
6%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
30%

* 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?

30% of women in Guatemala are married or united before their 18th birthday and 6% before the age of 15.

10% of men in Guatemala are married or united before the age of 18. This makes Guatemala the country with thirteenth highest prevalence of Child Early and Forced Marriage and Unions (CEFMU) among boys globally.

In Guatemala, most unions are informal where male partners are on average 5 years older than girls and adolescents. These unions are not registered, which makes them difficult to track.

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

Child, Early and Forced Marriage and Unions (CEFMU) are driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys. In Guatemala, CEFMU is also driven by:

  • Level of education: Education is particularly poor among Mayan communities, which make up about 40% of Guatemala’s population. One study shows that parents are less inclined to invest in education for girls and adolescents because it is not considered beneficial for their assumed future role as a wife and mother. Statistics show that Guatemalan girls and adolescents with higher levels of education delay marriage.
  • Poverty: Many indigenous communities have poor access to drinking water, health services, education and livelihoods. Girls and adolescents in these areas are often married off young in order to reduce their perceived financial burden on families.
  • Adolescent pregnancy: 70% of child and adolescent mothers interviewed in a survey from 2015 were married or in union at the time of childbirth. Guatemalan girls and adolescents are pressured by their families to enter into a union or get married when they become pregnant (even when it is the result of sexual violence) in order to uphold the family honour. Adolescent pregnancies are frequently the result of insufficient sex education, and can lead to severe health consequences for young girls (maternal mortality rates in Guatemala are among the highest in the region).
  • Traditional attitudes: The Population Council reports that, whilst positive steps have been taken in tackling CEFMU through legislative changes, there is a persistent attitude among national and municipal leaders that the practice is “cultural” and not a concern to the state.
  • Organised crime and forced displacement: In recent years, gang warfare and violence have transformed parts of Central America, including Guatemala, into some of the most dangerous places on earth. Over half a million people, the majority of them women, children and unaccompanied minors, have fled and many are seeking asylum in the United States. This kind of humanitarian crisis exacerbates poverty, insecurity, and lack of access to services such as education, factors which all drive CEFMU. While gender inequality is a root cause of CEFMU in both stable and crisis contexts, often in times of crisis, families see it as a way to cope with greater economic hardship and to protect girls and adolescents from increased violence. Although there is a lack of data and research of the impact of the Central American refugee crisis on CEFMU, previous experiences show that violence and forced displacement increases girls and adolescents vulnerability to CEFMU.

What has this country committed to?

Guatemala has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The government reiterated commitment to this target during its Voluntary National Review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum. The government did not provide an update on progress towards this target during its Voluntary National Review at the 2019 High Level Political Forum.

Guatemala co-sponsored the 2017 Human Rights Council resolution recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts, and the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution to end child, early and forced marriage, recognising that it is a violation of human rights. 

Guatemala co-sponsored the 2013 and 2014 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage, and the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage.

Guatemala ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1982, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2018 review, the UN Child Rights Committee recommended that Guatemala implement awareness-raising campaigns on the harmful effects of child marriage on the physical and mental wellbeing of girls, particularly targeting households, local authorities, religious leaders, judges and prosecutors.

In 2017, the CEDAW Committee expressed concerns that many girls and adolescents in Guatemala are still getting married or entering into a union. The Committee recommended Guatemala to ensure the strict application of minimum age of marriage, address the root causes of early marriage and unions, carry out public awareness-raising programmes to end such practices, and adopt measures to protect the rights of girls already in child marriages and unions.

Guatemala, as a member of the Organization of American States (OAS), is bound to the Inter American System of Human Rights, which recognises the right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and calls to governments to strengthen the respond to address gender-based violence and discrimination, including early, forced and child marriage and unions from a perspective that respected evolving capacities and progressive autonomy.

Guatemala ratified the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women (known as the Belém do Pará Convention) in 1995. In 2016, the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI) recommended State Parties to review and reform laws and practices to increase the minimum age for marriage to 18 years for women and men.

Guatemala, as a member of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), adopted the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development in 2013, which recognises the need to address the high levels of adolescent pregnancy in the region as usually associated with the forced marriage of girls. In 2016, the Montevideo Strategy for Implementation of the Regional Gender Agenda was also approved by ECLAC countries. This Agenda encompasses commitments made by the governments on women’s rights and autonomy, and gender equality, during the last 40 years in the Regional Conferences of Women in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Agenda reaffirms the right to a life free of all forms of violence, including forced marriage and cohabitation for girls and adolescents.

Guatemala is one of the countries where UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women are working together under the Latin America and the Caribbean Joint Programme for a Region Free of Child Marriage and Early Unions (2018-2021) to: align national frameworks with international standards, empower girls, promote policies and services that address the drivers of child marriage and early unions and break the silence nationally and regionally.

In November 2015, UN Women, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization launched a regional programme on preventing violence against women and girls in Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico. The programme promotes changes in law to eliminate all exceptions to the minimum age of marriage.

Guatemala is one of the countries where the Spotlight Initiative (a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations) is supporting efforts to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls.

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

In 2017, Guatemala became the fourth country in Latin America to ban marriages under the age of 18 as a result of an advocacy process that included strong participation of the Guatemalan civil society.

Although the National Plan to Prevent Adolescent Pregnancies (2018 – 2022) highlights the links between adolescent pregnancies and child marriage and early unions, but it does not foresee any objectives or activities to tackle CEFMU in Guatemala.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Guatemala banned marriages under the age of 18 in August 2017, making 18 years the minimum legal age of marriage with no exceptions.

Previously, in 2015, the minimum age of marriage was established at 18 but marriage at the age of 16 was still exceptionally allowed.

Source

Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), La Infancia y Sus Derechos en el Sistema Interamericano de Protección de Derechos Humanos (Segunda Edición), OEA/Ser.L/V/II.133, 2008, https://cidh.oas.org/countryrep/Infancia2sp/Infancia2indice.sp.htm (accessed March 2020). 

Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Montevideo consensus on population and development, Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2013, https://repositorio.cepal.org/bitstream/handle/11362/21860/4/S20131039_en.pdf (accessed March 2020).

Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Montevideo Strategy for Implementation of the Regional Gender Agenda within the Sustainable Development Framework by 2030, Regional Conference On Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2016, https://repositorio.cepal.org/bitstream/handle/11362/41013/S1700033_en.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y (accessed March 2020).

Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI), Hemispheric report on sexual violence and child pregnancy in the States Party to the Belém do Pará Convention, 2016, https://www.oas.org/es/mesecvi/docs/MESECVI-EmbarazoInfantil-EN.pdf (accessed March 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).

Girls Not Brides, Child marriage in humanitarian settings, 2018, https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Child-marriage-in-humanitarian-settings.pdf (accessed March 2020).

Gobierno de Guatemala, Plan Nacional De Prevención De Embarazos En Adolescentes (2018 – 2022), 2017, https://conjuve.gob.gt/descargas/PLANEA.pdf (accessed March 2020)

Government of Guatemala, Agenda 2030 para el desarrollo sostenible Examen nacional voluntario, 2017 GUATEMALA, 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/16626Guatemala.pdf (accessed March 2020).

Joint Inter-agency Program to End Child Marriage and Early Unions in Latin America and the Caribbean: 2018-2021, Accelerate Actions to End Child Marriage and Early Unions in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2018,https://www.unicef.org/lac/media/2371/file/PDF%20Accelerate%20Actions%20to%20End%20Child%20Marriage%20and%20Early%20Unions%20in%20Latin%20America%20and%20the%20Caribbean.pdf (accessed March 2020).

Ministerio de Salud Pública y Asistencia Social (MSPAS), Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE), and Secretaría de Planificación y Programación de la Presidencia (Segeplán), Informe Final VI Encuesta Nacional de Salud Materno Infantil 2014-2015, 2017, https://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR318/FR318.pdf (accessed March 2020).

MSPAS, FLACSO, and UNFPA, ¡Me cambió la vida! Uniones, embarazos y vulneración de derechos en adolescentes, 2015, http://www.flacso.edu.gt/publicaciones/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Me-Cambio-Vida.pdf (accessed March 2020).

Organization of American States (OAS), Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (« Convention of Belem do Pará »), 9 June 1994, https://www.oas.org/es/mesecvi/convencion.asp (accessed March 2020).

Plan International, Friends unite against child marriage in Guatemala, [website], 2016, https://plan-international.org/because-i-am-a-girl/friends-unite-against-child-marriage-guatemala (accessed March 2020).

Plan International, Historic fourth child marriage ban in Latin America, [website], 2017, https://plan-international.org/news/2017-08-23-historic-fourth-child-marriage-ban-latin-america (accessed March 2020).

Population Council, Abriendo Oportunidades (‘Opening Opportunities’), 2017, https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Case-Study-Empower-girls-Population-Council-Guatemala.pdf (accessed March 2020).

Population Council, Indigenous Girls in Guatemala: Poverty and Location, 2007, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255729017_Indigenous_Girls_in_Guatemala_Poverty_and_Location (accessed March 2020).

Spotlight Initiative, Guatemala, [website], https://spotlightinitiative.org/guatemala (accessed February 2020).

UN CEDAW, Concluding observations on the combined eighth and ninth periodic reports of Guatemala, 2017, p. 15, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW%2fC%2fGTM%2fCO%2f8-9&Lang=en (accessed March 2020).

UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined fifth and sixth periodic reports of Guatemala, 2018, p.9, http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC/C/GTM/CO/5-6&Lang=En (accessed March 2020).

UN Women Americas and the Caribbean, UN launches regional flagship programme to eradicate child marriage, [website], 2015, http://lac.unwomen.org/en/noticias-y-eventos/articulos/2015/11/matrimonio (accessed March 2020).

UNFPA, Protecting the Rights, Unleashing the Potential of Indigenous Girls in Rural Guatemala, [website], 2013, https://www.unfpa.org/news/protecting-rights-unleashing-potential-indigenous-girls-rural-guatemala (accessed March 2020).

UNFPA, With bicycles, impoverished indigenous girls in Guatemala get a taste of freedom,[website], 2017, https://www.unfpa.org/news/bicycles-impoverished-indigenous-girls-guatemala-get-taste-freedom (accessed March 2020).

UNHCR, Central America Refugee Crisis, [website], https://www.unrefugees.org/emergencies/central-america/ (accessed March 2020).

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

World Bank, Guatemala improves Maternal-Infant Health and Nutrition, [website], 2014, http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2014/08/07/guatemala-improves-maternal-infant-health-nutrition (accessed March 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.