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Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of their education, health and long-term prospects

On September 19-20, 2013 in Astana there will be International Conference on Prevention of Violence against Adolescent Girls, Early and Forced Marriages in the Countries of Central Asia and Caucasus within the Framework of Millennium Development Goals held by Public Association Women’s League with Creative Initiative with support of National Commission on Family and Women’s Affairs under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Soros Foundation-Kazakhstan, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Asian Development Bank and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

According to the conducted research, Central Asia and Caucasus are among the group of countries where the problem of early and forced marriages is still relevant. There are almost no official data on forced marriages that means all the problems do not go beyond the family boundaries.

«It is a historically established fact that in many cases national traditions prevail over legal norms; as a result, the number of early marriages, kidnapping of juvenile brides continue increasing,» – says Ms. Assiya Khairulina, Board Chair of Women’s League with Creative Initiative, member to National Commission on Family and Women’s Affairs under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. «The acts of physical violence, cases of rape of girls, inhumane treatment by spouses or persons not having conjugal bonds are rarely made public that, in turn, cause a special threat to the life, health and social development of girls, future mothers».

Mr. Anton Artemyev, Chair Board of Soros Foundation-Kazakhstan, states: – «The problem of early and forced marriages concerns both traditional socio-cultural stereotypes in certain communities and the level of education. Having constant monitoring, advancement of the mechanism for execution of national legislation and development of the system for public control are able to prevent violence against adolescent girls and impede early and forced marriages».

To participate in the discussion platform on the issue a number of parliamentarians, state officials, representatives of government and civil society along with international and national experts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Pakistan and Turkmenistan are invited to speak on the current situation in the sphere of protection of girls from vulnerable groups of society and consider experiences of those organizations working in the field of counteraction against early and forced marriages in the countries of Central Asia and Caucasus. Within the Conference there will be adoption of draft recommendations to the regional action plan directed to build efficient mechanisms for protection of girls from violence, early marriages and gender inequality.

To attention of mass media: Accreditation of mass media representatives is held by tel. +7 727 2502 156, +7 701 801 7422, and e-mail wlci@mail.ru

Venue and time schedule: 19 September – Conference Hall «Besik» of Palace of Peace and Accord by the address: Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana city, Tauelsizdik st. 57. 20 September – Conference Hall of King Hotel Astana by the address: Astana, Valikhanov st. 7.