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U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual: "Forced Marriage of Minors"

Published June 29, 2012

The State Deparment Foreign Affairs Manual lays out departmental functions, practices, and organizatonal responsibilities. In this chapter, the State Department states that it considers forced marriage of minors to violate human rights and be a form of child abuse and lists treaties on which it bases this statement, to include :

  • articles from the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations;
  • articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948;
  • articles from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
  • articles from the Declaration on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women;
  • Convention on Consent to Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages (1962);
  • U.N. Recommendation on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration (1965).

From the introduction:

"The issue of forced marriages involves more than just child victims, and is therefore covered in detail in 7 FAM 1400 . Most cases of forced marriage involve young women and girls aged between 13 and 30 years, although there is evidence to suggest that as many as 15 per cent of victims are male. In a number of instances, the non - consenting partner is also a ch ild, which adds another dimension to the issue. The Department considers a forced marriage to be a violation of basic human rights. It also considers the forced marriage of a minor child to be a form of child abuse, since the child will presumably be sub jected to non - consensual sex. Cases involving U.S. citizen/national children that come to your attention cannot be disregarded, or simply referred back to the parents. You must take all possible steps to protect the U.S. citizen/national child in these c ases. b. The issue of forced marriage is addressed in the annual Human Rights Reports. c. Some countries have issued travel advice and other reports regarding forced marriage."

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