IHEU condemns child marriage and executions of children

  • post Type / Campaigns
  • Date / 12 March 2009

IHEU has strongly condemned the execution of children in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Pakistan and the practice of child marriage. In a statement to the annual meeting on the Rights of the Child held at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, IHEU called the continuation of child marriage “a disgrace” and judicial killing of children “the ultimate barbarity”.

International Humanist and Ethical Union
Joint statement with World Population Foundation, the Association for World Education and the World Union of Progressive Judaism

UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: 10th Session (2 – 27 March 2008)
Annual All-Day Meeting on the Rights of the Child
Speaker: IHEU Main Representative, Roy Brown: Wednesday (am) 11 March 2009

Panel on Promoting the Implementation of the Convention at International Level

Thank you Madam President. This is a joint statement on behalf of four NGOs and over 100 of our member organisations.

It was encouraging this morning to hear of some real progress being made in the rights of the child, but we wish to raise two issues which we feel have not received adequate attention:

Child Marriage and the Execution of Children

First, the marriage of girls as young as nine, or even younger, is nothing less than child abuse. The bodies of young girls are far from able to carry pregnancies to term without serious risk of long-term physical and emotional damage, or even death.

A child is not equipped to give consent, and therefore all child marriage is forced marriage. Child marriage is in contravention not only of the CRC but of art 16.2 of CEDAW and General Assembly resolution 843 (IX) of 1954. Yet 55 years later millions of girl children are still being married every year

Madam President, the continuation of child marriage is a disgrace for the entire human rights community.

I refer to our written statement [A/HRC/10/NGO/92] which we are making available here, and in which we propose a number of concrete actions to end this practice.

Secondly, Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states:
“Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below
eighteen years of age”
Yet there are five States which continue to violate this injunction: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Pakistan. Iran has been responsible for 26 out of a total of 32 child executions since 2005. Eight were executed in Iran in 2008 and 133 remain under sentence of death.

What can be done?

May we Madam, through you and the Council, respectfully ask the OIC to use its influence with the States concerned to end what many see as the ultimate barbarity: States killing their own children.

Thank you sir

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