ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

The Director-General

10 December 2013
“Poverty as a Driver of Child, Early and Forced Marriage”

Opening remarks by Mr. Michael Møller
Acting Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva
“Poverty as a Driver of Child, Early and Forced Marriage”

Palais des Nations, Room XIV, A Building, 1st floor, Door 17
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 at 1 p.m.


Ambassador van Schreven
Ambassador Seck
Excellencies
Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the screening of the film “Tall as the Baobab Tree” and the following panel on poverty and child, early and forced marriage. My thanks to the Permanent Missions of the Netherlands and Senegal for organizing this event and raising awareness of these important issues. My thanks also to the distinguished panelists who are with us today.

The thought-provoking film that will be screened today explores the influences of poverty, education and urbanization on traditional societies. It shines a spotlight on the complexity of child marriage, its economic and social drivers, and its impact on girls, on families and on communities.

Every year, approximately 14 million girls are married before they turn 18 – robbed of their childhoods and denied their rights.

It is clear that we will not build a healthier, safer, more prosperous world unless we end child marriage. This has been reaffirmed numerous times by the international community. The Conventions on the Rights of the Child and on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women are just two examples. Most recently this past September, the Human Rights Council adopted the first-ever UN resolution on child, early and forced marriage.

As we will see in this film, parents, communities and countries want the very best for their girls. I think we can agree that the best for girls, as for all human beings, comes through education, good health, and broad choices that are to be freely made, not only in regard to marriage, but in all aspects of life. The film also shows us the broader effects of economic progress and urbanization.
And that involving communities themselves in the empowerment of girls results in stronger and more vibrant societies.

I hope you enjoy the screening and I look forward to an interesting discussion afterwards.

Thank you very much.