Ottawa: Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said this week that Canada is contributing $20 million over two years to UNICEF toward ending child, early and forced marriage.
“Today’s announcement is the latest step in Canada’s campaign to end child, early and forced marriage”, said Baird. “This troubling practice is a violation of human rights and also hinders economic development. When girls can’t reach their full potential, everyone suffers—girls, their communities and their countries. Protecting children is a priority for Canada and we will continue to pursue all available avenues to put an end to child, early and forced marriage in the world,” said Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. “We will continue to work through trusted partners like UNICEF to ensure that our actions translate into concrete results for the well-being of girls and women.”
“Child marriage denies girls the right to be girls and to make decisions affecting their own lives,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Few personal decisions have greater impact than the decision on when to marry. Girls who marry later stay in school longer, give birth later and are better able to reach their full potential—to the benefit of girls themselves, their families and their societies. The Government of Canada’s leadership in ending child marriage will touch the lives of millions of girls.”
The UNICEF project aims to accelerate the movement to end child marriage in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Yemen and Zambia by supporting efforts in these countries to strengthen programming and political support to end the practice.