Seminar: Child Marriage during Democratic Transition and Armed Conflicts

October 27, 2015

With the support of HIVOS, the Arab Institute for Human Rights and ABAAD MENA Organization launched today a 3-day regional seminar on “Child Marriage during Democratic Transition and Armed Conflicts”, also in collaboration with the Democratic Forum for Women in Transitional Societies – Amina Forum Lebanon.

This seminar focusses on the marriage of underage girls, which has significantly declined in the sixties and seventies, but is currently intensifying given the context of continuous social and political instability in the Arab region and in light of transformational and transitional period.

The rise of conservative movements and Islamic extremists groups, which started rising following the Arab Spring and the ensuing refugee crisis, aggravated by the growing economic and political crises in the region and the wars and military operations in the area, have led to the increase of “early child marriage”. This is especially prevalent in refugee camps, where abusive practices against girls is particularly elevated. Their bodies are at times used as tools for vengeance, and at others as targets for sexual abuse and trafficking – often under the pretense of protecting honour and dignity.

This seminar aims to intensify the discussion of the issue of forced child marriage and deepen the analysis of civil society organisations and the development of a clear vision and action plan on how to strategically intervene to end to this phenomenon and develop strategies to combat gender-based violence against girls.

Around 60 activists, working with active civil society organisations in the field of human rights, and especially women’s and children’s rights, have come from 13 Arab countries that are experiencing refugee crises and forced migrations. Amongst them are the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Iraq, Syria, Yemen,  Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Libya. Actors and significant stakeholders in the region are also attending.

During the seminar, specialised research papers presented by experts and civil society activists will help the seminar shine the light on the political, legal, economical, cultural, social, religious and human rights aspects related to forced child marriage of girls.

The participants will endorse “Beirut’s Declaration against Child Marriage in the Arab Region” and issue recommendations and the closing statement of the seminar during a press conference on 29 October at 3:30 PM (15:30) local time.

Marriage Is Not a Game: animation by ABAAD MENA about the consequences of child marriage on girls