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UN: Italian FM speaks out against child brides

Violation of human rights, requires urgent attention

26 September, 09:38

    (ANSAmed) - NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 26 - The right to choose one's own spouse was recognised in 1946 in Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, but ''even today, too many women and girls are denied this right'', Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino told the UN Core Group of countries leading the campaign against forced marriage. ''The time has come for us to raise our voices and act with courage to underscore the seriousness of this human rights violation,'' she said in her speech. The meeting was held in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and was organised by Core Group members Canada, the Netherlands, and Ghana. Italy joined the group recently. ''Up until now, the United Nations has deal with the issue as part of the Omnibus Resolutions, considering it within a large context'' that includes the struggle against violence against women and child abuse. ''But the issue is too important to be only one of many on a list,'' the minister said. It is also an issue that Bonino cares strongly about and which fits into a series of wide-ranging campaigns for women and their dignity, the minister told ANSA. ''It is a campaign that I have been following for years, alongside that against female genital mutilation, since these two horrible practices are linked and present in the same countries,'' she said, underscoring that ''forced marriages are a form of slavery.'' The practice is also widespread. In the 2000-2011 period, 34% of women in 41 developing countries between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before their 18th birthday. In 2010 some 67 million women found themselves in this situation, including 12% of whom were married before reaching age 15. ''We must raise our voices together with those of the victims of early and forced marriages and provide a political and legal framework to protect them,'' Minister Bonino said at the meeting in New York. She also said that Italy would continue to contribute to these efforts, as it does to other campaigns for the protection and promotion of human rights. (ANSAmed).

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