S.987 - International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009
A bill to protect girls in developing countries through the prevention of child marriage, and for other purposes.
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|Introduced in Senate||0||n/a||n/a|
|Reported in Senate||0||64||51%|
|Engrossed in Senate||0||32||69%|
|Referred in House||0||5 Show Changes Hide Changes||9%|
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SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(2) Child marriage as a traditional practice, as well as through coercion or force, is a violation of article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, ‘Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of intending spouses’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an estimated 60,000,000 girls in developing countries now ages 20 through 24 were married under the age of 18, and if present trends continue more than 100,000,000 more girls in developing countries will be married as children over the next decade, according to the Population Council.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) Between 1/2 and 3/4 of all girls are married before the age of 18 in Niger, Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Guinea, the Central African Republic, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, and Nepal, according to Demographic Health Survey data.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) Factors perpetuating child marriage include poverty, a lack of educational or employment opportunities for girls, parental concerns to ensure sexual relations within marriage, the dowry system, and the perceived lack of value of girls.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(6) Child marriage has negative effects on the health of girls, including significantly increased risk of maternal death and morbidity, infant mortality and morbidity, obstetric fistula, and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(7) According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), increasing the age at first birth for a woman will increase her chances of survival. Currently, pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death for women 15 to 19 years old in developing countries.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(8) Most countries with high rates of child marriage have a legally established minimum age of marriage, yet child marriage persists due to strong traditional norms and the failure to enforce existing laws.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(9) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that child marriage is ‘a clear and unacceptable violation of human rights’, and that ‘the Department of State categorically denounces all cases of child marriage as child abuse’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(10) According to an International Center for Research on Women analysis of Demographic and Health Survey data, areas or regions in developing countries in which 40 percent or more of girls under the age of 18 are married are considered high-prevalence areas for child marriage.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(11) Investments in girls’ schooling, creating safe community spaces for girls, and programs for skills building for out-of-school girls are all effective and demonstrated strategies for preventing child marriage and creating a pathway to empower girls by addressing conditions of poverty, low status, and norms that contribute to child marriage.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. CHILD MARRIAGE DEFINED.
In this Act, the term ‘child marriage’ means the marriage of a girl or boy, not yet the minimum age for marriage stipulated in law in the country in which the girl or boy is a resident or, where there is no such law, under the age of 18.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 4. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
(2) the practice of child marriage undermines United States investments in foreign assistance to promote education and skills building for girls, reduce maternal and child mortality, reduce maternal illness, halt the transmission of HIV/AIDS, prevent gender-based violence, and reduce poverty; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) expanding educational opportunities for girls, economic opportunities for women, and reducing maternal and child mortality are critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the global health and development objectives of the United States, including efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 5. STRATEGY TO PREVENT CHILD MARRIAGE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES.
(1) IN GENERAL- The President is authorized to provide assistance, including through multilateral, nongovernmental, and faith-based organizations, to prevent the incidence of child marriage in developing countries through the promotion of educational, health, economic, social, and legal empowerment of girls and women.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) IN GENERAL- The President shall establish a multi-year strategy to prevent child marriage and promote the empowerment of girls at risk of child marriage in developing countries, which should address the unique needs, vulnerabilities, and potential of girls under age 18 in developing countries.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) CONSULTATION- In establishing the strategy required by paragraph (1), the President shall consult with Congress, relevant Federal departments and agencies, multilateral organizations, and representatives of civil society.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) encompass diplomatic initiatives between the United States and governments of developing countries, with attention to human rights, legal reforms, and the rule of law;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) an assessment, including data disaggregated by age and sex to the extent possible, of current United States funded efforts to specifically prevent child marriage in developing countries.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(e) Activities Supported- Assistance authorized under subsection (a) may be made available for activities in the areas of education, health, income generation, agriculture development, legal rights, democracy building, and human rights, including--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) support for community-based activities that encourage community members to address beliefs or practices that promote child marriage and to educate parents, community leaders, religious leaders, and adolescents of the health risks associated with child marriage and the benefits for adolescents, especially girls, of access to education, health care, livelihood skills, microfinance, and savings programs;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) support for activities that allow adolescent girls to access health care services and proper nutrition, which is essential to both their school performance and their economic productivity;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) assistance to train adolescent girls and their parents in financial literacy and access economic opportunities, including livelihood skills, savings, microfinance, and small-enterprise development;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(6) support for education, including through community and faith-based organizations and youth programs, that helps remove gender stereotypes and the bias against girls used to justify child marriage, especially efforts targeted at men and boys, promotes zero tolerance for violence, and promotes gender equality, which in turn help to increase the perceived value of girls;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(8) support for local advocacy work to provide legal literacy programs at the community level to ensure that governments and law enforcement officials are meeting their obligations to prevent child and forced marriage.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 6. RESEARCH AND DATA.
(1) collect and make available data on the incidence of child marriage in countries that receive foreign or development assistance from the United States where the practice of child marriage is prevalent; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 7. DEPARTMENT OF STATE’S COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES.
‘(g) The report required by subsection (d) shall include, for each country in which child marriage is prevalent, a description of the status of the practice of child marriage in such country. In this subsection, the term ‘child marriage’ means the marriage of a girl or boy, not yet the minimum age for marriage stipulated in law or under the age of 18 if no such law exists, in the country in which such girl or boy is a resident.’; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(i) The report required by subsection (b) shall include, for each country in which child marriage is prevalent, a description of the status of the practice of child marriage in such country. In this subsection, the term ‘child marriage’ means the marriage of a girl or boy, not yet the minimum age for marriage stipulated in law or under the age of 18 if no such law exists, in the country in which such girl or boy is a resident.’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink