FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Lori Adelman, email@example.com, 212-979-8500
IWHC to Push for Advances at the 51st Commission on the Status of Women
New York, NY – From February 26-March 9, the 51st Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meets. Government delegates and civil society advocates from around the world will define actions to reduce and end violence and discrimination against girls.
One issue likely to prove contentious is child marriage. Delegates will negotiate a document that calls for strict enforcement of laws and regulations defining a minimum age for marriage. Opposition is anticipated from governments of countries where parents currently override such laws, deny daughters their right to consent and, in doing so, expose them to serious risks to their health and well-being. In Niger, 27% of girls 15-19 were married before they were 15; in Bangladesh, 26%; in Nigeria, 16%; and in India, 14%.
In addition to child marriage, girls from birth to age 18 face significant threats to their health and rights that the CSW action agenda aims to redress. These include HIV infection, unintended pregnancy, complications in childbirth, sexual violence and pervasive gender inequality.
"Addressing these threats requires governments to decide whether they will take effective actions against teachers who sexually exploit their students, firmly implement civil laws on marriage that countermand religious or customary law and ensure sexual and reproductive health services for all," says Adrienne Germain, President of the International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC). "We hope delegates will also agree on concrete actions, including sexuality education and work with boys and men, so that sexual coercion and violence become unacceptable."
For over two decades, IWHC has promoted and protected the rights and health of girls and women. The Coalition works with advocates and governments worldwide and will participate in negotiations throughout the CSW.
To arrange an interview with Adrienne Germain, IWHC President; Zonny Woods, IWHC Senior Advisor for International Policy; or IWHC partners who work with young people in Pakistan, Peru, and Nigeria who are in New York this week, contact Whitney Welshimer at 212-979-8500.
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