With Belize having the second-highest rate of child marriage and early unions in the Caribbean region. The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) launched a five-year road map to end child marriage and early unions in Belize. The Road Map highlights trends in child marriage, early unions, early sexual debuts and teenage pregnancy across regional, urban, rural and social divides. Pearl Stewart, Chair at the NCFC, has more details on this initiative.
Pearl Stewart, Chair, National Commission for Families and Children: ““The roadmap outlines a set of strategic actions to address the causes of child marriage and early unions. Child marriage is characterized as a human rights violation and a form of gender based violence. Data shows that Belize has the second highest rate of child marriages and early unions in the Caribbean region. The National Committee for Families and Children’s National Child Protection Technical Working Group was commissioned to safeguard the Child Protection Agenda across all ages and stages of the child’s lifecycle; this can only be achieved through effective coordination and collaboration. A study conducted by Go Hoven Belize reveals that girls and boys enter child marriage and early unions primarily because of social pressure, rebellion, pregnancy, poverty and lack of parental support. Child marriage and early unions has many consequences for our teen girls and boys. Our girls are exposed to health risks of early or unwanted pregnancies, increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and limiting their social development. While in most cases our boys are forced to terminate their formal education to enter the workforce, limiting their social and economic development.”
The launch was in collaboration with UNICEF and UNFPA.