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Girls not brides: an end to child marriages


Fiona McGrath
WVoN co-editor

A group of eminent “elders” will take to the world stage next week to draw attention to the neglected issue of child marriage during the United Nations General Assembly week in New York from 19-23 September.

“Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage” is an initiative by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and former head of the World Health Organisation, Dr Gro Brundtland.

A new global partnership to end child marriage, it brings together dozens of international NGOs and grassroots organisations from every corner of the world.

The aim is to give greater visibility and leadership to the issue and strengthen efforts to end it at local, national and global levels.

Each year approximately 10 million girls are married before the age of 18.   Child brides tend to drop out of school.

They also risk putting their lives in danger – girls under the age of 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chair of The Elders, said:“Child marriage is not a religious practice; it is a tradition that occurs in communities around the world.

“There are many good traditions that bind communities together.  But traditions are also not static – they evolve.  We can choose to change traditions that are harmful.”

The press conference will take place at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Tuesday 20 September.

The Elders is an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007, who work together for peace and human rights.

If you would like further  information on the global partnership you can visit the Girls Not Brides website or email

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