H.R. 3357 (112th): Child Marriage Violates the Human Rights of Girls Act of 2011

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Nov 03, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 3357

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 3, 2011

(for herself, Mr. Schock, Mr. Sensenbrenner, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. LaTourette, Ms. DeGette, Mrs. Emerson, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Chandler, Mr. Tiberi, Ms. Moore, Mr. Dent, Mr. Jackson of Illinois, Mrs. Napolitano, Mr. Moran, Mr. McDermott, Ms. Brown of Florida, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Grijalva, Mrs. Maloney, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Honda, Mr. McGovern, Mr. McNerney, Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Payne, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Israel, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Kind, Ms. Lee of California, Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania, Mr. Paulsen, Mr. Cohen, Mr. Murphy of Connecticut, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Towns, Mr. Kildee, Mr. Markey, Mr. Ryan of Ohio, Mr. Blumenauer, Ms. Slaughter, Ms. Schwartz, Mr. Hastings of Florida, Ms. Richardson, Ms. Norton, Mr. Carnahan, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Mrs. Capps, and Ms. DeLauro) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

A BILL

To protect girls in developing countries through the prevention of child marriage, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Child Marriage Violates the Human Rights of Girls Act of 2011.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Child marriage, also known as forced marriage or early marriage, is a harmful traditional practice that deprives girls of their basic human rights.

(2)

Child marriage as a traditional practice, as well as through coercion or force, is a violation of article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of intending spouses..

(3)

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an estimated 60,000,000 girls in developing countries now ages 20 to 24 were married under the age of 18, and if present trends continue, more than 100,000,000 more girls in developing countries will be married as children over the next decade, according to the Population Council.

(4)

The rape, violent abuse, and physical exploitation of young girls, at times as young as ten years old, are frequent consequences of children forced into marriages in countries such as Bangladesh where 57 percent of girls are married by age 15.

(5)

Factors perpetuating child marriage include poverty, a lack of educational or employment opportunities for girls, parental concerns to ensure sexual relations within marriage, the dowry system, and the perceived lack of value of girls.

(6)

Child marriage has negative effects on girls’ health, including significantly increased risk of maternal death and morbidity, obstetric fistula, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and infant mortality and morbidity.

(7)

Girls’ schooling, creating safe community spaces for girls, and programs for skills building for out-of-school girls are all effective and evidence-based strategies for preventing child marriage and creating a pathway to the empowerment of girls by addressing conditions of poverty, low status, and norms that contribute to child marriage.

(8)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has stated that, Stopping child marriage is not just a must for moral or human rights reasons—it lays the foundation for so many other things we hope to achieve. Primary education. Improved child and maternal health. Sustainable economic development that includes girls..

3.

Child marriage defined

In this Act, the term child marriage means the marriage of a girl or boy, not yet the minimum age for marriage stipulated in law in the country in which the girl or boy is a resident or, where there is no such law, under the age of 18.

4.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

child marriage is a violation of human rights and the prevention and elimination of child marriage should be a foreign policy goal of the United States;

(2)

the practice of child marriage undermines United States investments in foreign assistance to promote education and skills building for girls, reduce maternal and child mortality, reduce maternal illness, halt the transmission of HIV/AIDS, prevent gender-based violence, and reduce poverty; and

(3)

educational opportunities for girls, economic opportunities for women, and reducing maternal and child mortality are critical to achieving the global health and development objectives of the United States, including efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS.

5.

Research and data

(a)

In general

The Secretary of State, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and the heads of other relevant departments and agencies shall—

(1)

collect and make publicly available data on the incidence of child marriage in countries that receive foreign or development assistance from the United States where the practice of child marriage is prevalent, including to the extent appropriate the countries listed in subsection (b); and

(2)

collect and make publicly available data on the impact of the incidence of child marriage and the age at marriage on progress in meeting key development goals.

(b)

Countries

The countries referred to in subsection (a)(1) are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Honduras, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

6.

Department of State’s country reports on human rights practices

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 is amended—

(1)

in section 116 (22 U.S.C. 2151n), by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(g)
(1)

The report required by subsection (d) shall include, for each country in which child marriage is prevalent, including to the extent appropriate the countries listed in paragraph (2), a description of the status of the practice of child marriage in such country and the type and amount of United State foreign assistance being used for the primary goal of preventing child marriage in such country.

(2)

The countries referred to in paragraph (1) are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Honduras, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

(3)

In this subsection, the term child marriage means the marriage of a girl or boy, not yet the minimum age for marriage stipulated in law or under the age of 18 if no such law exists, in the country in which such girl or boy is a resident.

; and

(2)

in section 502B (22 U.S.C. 2304), by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(j)
(1)

The report required by subsection (b) shall include, for each country in which child marriage is prevalent, including to the extent appropriate the countries listed in paragraph (2), a description of the status of the practice of child marriage in such country and the type and amount of United State foreign assistance being used for the primary goal of preventing child marriage in such country.

(2)

The countries referred to in paragraph (1) are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Honduras, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

(3)

In this subsection, the term child marriage means the marriage of a girl or boy, not yet the minimum age for marriage stipulated in law or under the age of 18 if no such law exists, in the country in which such girl or boy is a resident.

.