Adoption of constitutional amendments to minimum age of marriage and definition of a child

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Press Statement: Lilongwe, 17 February 2017. The United Nations in Malawi would like to congratulate the Government of Malawi and all stakeholders who contributed on 14 February to the adoption by Parliament of Constitutional Amendments raising the age of a child to persons under 18 years of age and raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 years of age. The UN in Malawi joins hands with all Malawians in celebrating this momentous step.

The amendments align the Constitutional age of marriage and definition of a child with Malawi’s international and regional obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. The Constitutional Amendments are also aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality aimed at ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere by 2030.

The UN in Malawi recalls that the Constitutional amendments are a critical step aimed at empowering women and girls with equal rights and ending child marriages in Malawi. Once the amendments are assented to by the President we hope that all stakeholders will join hands and work towards implementation, as well as contributing to bringing about attitudinal and behavioral change in Malawi.