Civil Society organizations, today, in a seminar in Islamabad adopted a resolution to support and empower girls. The seminar was organized and attended by members of Girls Not Brides – a global network of organizations working for eliminating child marriages. The seminar was attended by many other groups and organizations as well in addition to other stakeholders including government officials, media persons and general public. The text of the resolution is given below:
Whereas 17 SDGs could not be achieved without significant progress to end child marriage, including those related to poverty, health, education, nutrition, food security, inequality and economic growth.
Whereas according UNICEF (State of the World’s Children 2016) report. It is estimated that 21% of girls in Pakistan are married before the age of 18.
Whereas investing in international aid programs specifically directed to empowering women and girls has been shown to increase the levels of education, decrease rates of child marriage and teen birth, and to dramatically improve sexual and reproductive health including reduction of violence against women and girls; and
Whereas in those countries where investments have been made in such programs, girls have become powerful forces in economic, cultural, and political change.
Therefore be it resolved that the Participants of the seminar of International Day of the Girl Child 2017, Girls Not Brides members in Pakistan along with other civil society groups work to encourage the Federal and Provincial Govts of Pakistan:
- To ensure that funding and programming by federal and provincial Govts specifically engage and reach out to adolescent girls and women, including those who are further marginalized in their society;
- To adopt a comprehensive approach needs to be taken to end child marriage and to meet their international human rights obligations to protect girls including by instituting a minimum age of marriage law at 18.
- To amend discriminatory laws which allow difference in marriage age between males and females and enforce birth and marriage registration
- To undertake comprehensive review, in conjunction with civil society, of existing laws to identify and amend any that continue to discriminate against girls, as well as those that have a discriminatory impact girls.
- To support monitoring and evaluation strategies to collect data linking girls’ empowerment programs to positive health, economic, social, and legal outcomes, and use this data as evidence for continued and increased investments in girl-centered programming;
- To target specifically girls with the full range of comprehensive sexual reproductive health rights and resources.
- To cultivate girl-centered and girl-led development programs by partnering with grassroots organizations that are specifically girl-centered and girl-led, and that employ female role models who are known and trusted in the community;
- To protect human rights defenders and organizations that may be at risk for persecution due to their legal or political support of girls’ human rights; and
- To work toward ending child marriage and to support girls’ right to choose when and whom they marry.