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SIGN ON LETTER: Call on the Secretary General to speak out about child marriage

António Guterres
Secretary General of the United Nations
United Nations Headquarters
New York, NY 10017

Dear Secretary General Guterres,

We write to you as member organisations of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, a global partnership of more than 1,250 civil society organisations from over 100 countries committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfil their potential. We urge you to emphasise during the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit in New York the urgent need for accelerated action by member states to address child marriage and empower adolescent girls.

Each year, 12 million girls are married by the age of 18. Child marriage is a violation of human rights which has far reaching consequences for a girl - and her country. Child marriage puts girls at greater risk of violence and increases her chances of remaining trapped in poverty. It also often results in her being pulled out of school, and can leave her with serious health complications or even facing death due to early pregnancy. By not addressing child marriage we risk impeding the development agenda of countries across the world.

In 2015, member states committed to ending child, early and forced marriage under the SDGs. We applaud the recognition of this issue, yet not enough is being done to bring an end to the practice. Unless we accelerate our efforts, 150 million more girls will be married by 2030.

Ending child marriage may formally fall under the SDG 5.3 target, but its impact is felt across the Goals. If we do not make significant progress on ending child marriage, we will fall short on eight of the SDGs, including those related to poverty, food security, health, education, gender equality, economic growth, and peace and justice.

The Girls Not Brides Partnership believes that the SDG Summit provides an opportunity to highlight the critical issue of child marriage. By signing this letter, we demonstrate the level of support there is for governments to take action to accelerate their efforts to address child marriage. Now we call on you to stand up for adolescent girls by calling on member states to take comprehensive and strategic action to address child marriage.

We look forward to working together to create a world without child marriage – which will be a world in which everyone will be better educated, healthier, more prosperous and more equal.

This message is supported by the following Girls Not Brides member organisations:
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