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Forced Marriage & the United Nations

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 16.

  • (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  • (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

UN Convention on Consent to Marriage

 The United Nations defines forced marriage as the “union of two persons at least one of whom has not given their full and free consent to the marriage.”(UN Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriage, Article 1(1), 1964). The UN  considers forced marriage to be a human rights violation because it violates the individual’s right to freedom and autonomy.

In recognition of this, the UN General Assembly put forth Resolution (2018) http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/RecommendationOnConsentToMarriage.aspx in 1965 titled the Recommendation on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages.