Ethiopia Launches the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa

The Ethiopian chapter of AU campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa was officially launched on 25, November, 2014 in the new premises of the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The launching workshop was jointly organized by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, and the African Union Commission. The Embassy of Canada in Ethiopia and UNICEF have financially supported the launching workshop. The continental launch of the campaign was hosted earlier in May 2014 in Addis Ababa, by the African Union Commission, at the opening session of the 4th AU conference of Ministers of Social Development.

The national launching workshop was therefore, designed to boost on existing efforts to end child marriage in Africa. At the opening of the workshop, H.E. W/ro Zenebu Tadesse, Minister, Ministry of Women Children and Youth Affairs told participants that Ethiopia has recently agreed to end child marriage by 2025 at the London International Girl’s Summit, July 2014. She said the lunching of the AU End Early Marriage in Africa campaign will further advance the fulfillment of the promises the government of Ethiopia has made.

In another key note address, H.E. Dr. Mustapha Sidiki, representative of the African Union Commission, stressed that child marriage is not only a violation of the rights of girls but it is at the same time becoming a developmental challenge for Africa. Through creating continent wide awareness and by effective implementation of existing instruments such as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and other continental and international instruments, the campaign aims to accelerate the prospects of ending child marriage in Africa.

Similarly the workshop’s key note speaker H.E. David Usher, Ambassador of Canada to Ethiopia discussed the broader impacts of early marriage and told the congregation that it is Canada’s foreign policy and development priority to end Child and EarlyForced Marriage (CEFM).

In her keynote Speech, the Unicef Representative H.E. Patrizia DiGiovani highlighted three key factors that will determine the success of the campaign. These are, first, the necessity to ensure girls’ and women’s equal rights as boys’ and men’s, secondly, the importance to believe that tackling child marriage will result in immediate socioeconomic developments and fulfillment of the MDGs, and thirdly, the necessity to focus on building momentum on the commitment to end child marriage and FGM by 2025 that will bring measurable results.


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