The present report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 24/23, in which the Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to prepare a report, in consultation with States, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, civil society and other relevant stakeholders, on preventing and eliminating child, early and forced marriage, with a particular focus on challenges, achievements, best practices and implementation gaps.
For the preparation of the report, OHCHR solicited inputs from Member States, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, special procedures mandate-holders, treaty bodies, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders. As at 17 March 2014, 110 replies had been received, including 31 from Member States. All the submissions are available on the OHCHR website. OHCHR also reviewed recent studies and research on the issue.
Information received for the present report reveals a wide variation in the prevalence of child, early and forced marriage between and within countries. It is a practice which adversely impacts on the rights of girls, boys, men and women. However, child, early and forced marriage has a disproportionately negative impact on women and girls. According to United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates, in 2012, approximately 400 million women aged 20–49 around the world (or 41 per cent of the total population of women in that age group) had been married or entered into a union before they reached 18 years of age. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) reported that the rate of marriage for girls before the age of 18 in developing countries (not including China) is one in three, the majority of whom have limited education and live in rural areas and in extreme poverty.