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Swaziland

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
1%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
5%

* 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.

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
1%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
5%

* 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?

Swaziland has one of the lowest rates of child marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa. 5% of girls there are married before the age of 18 and 1% are married before their 15th birthday.

Child marriage is most prevalent in Lubombo (where 14% of women aged 20-49 were married before the age of 18) and Hhohho (12%).

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

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys. In Swaziland, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Level of education: 30% of women with no education were married as children, compared to only 2% with higher education.
  • Poverty: 18% of women in Swaziland’s poorest households were married before the age of 18, compared to 4% in the richest households.
  • Traditional customs: At Swaziland’s Swazi Reed Dance Festival, an annual Swazi and Zulu tradition known as Umhlanga, the King reportedly tests the virginity of underage girls and publicly celebrates their chastity before selecting a new wife.

What has this country committed to?

Swaziland has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Swaziland signed a joint statement at the 2014 Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Swaziland ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1995, 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 2004, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

In 1992 Swaziland 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 2012 Swaziland 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.

Swaziland is one of 20 countries which has committed to ending child marriage by the end of 2020 under the Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa.

During its 2016 Universal Periodic Review, Swaziland agreed to examine recommendations to enact legislation to ban child marriages.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Marriage Act 1964 the minimum legal age is 16 years for girls and 18 years for boys. However they may marry below that age with special dispensation from the Minister.

Swaziland adopted the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act of 2012, which grants any person under 18 the right to refuse any custom or traditional practice that can negatively affect them. The law penalises parents and guardians who collude with adult men to orchestrate child marriages through a practice known as kwendizisa. Offenders face prison terms of up to 20 years.

Source

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [website], 2018, (accessed February 2018)

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, (accessed February 2018)

Central Statistical Office and UNICEF, Swaziland Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2014. Final Report, 2016,  (accessed May 2018)

Daily Post, King of Swaziland chooses wife, publicly tests girls’ virginity as they dance naked, [website], 2016, (accessed June 2018)

Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern African [website], 2014, (accessed February 2018)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014, (accessed April 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Swaziland, 2016, p.23, (accessed June 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, (accessed February 2018)

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.