The CEFM in Serbia represent a problem that almost exclusively affects Roma communities, and so far it has been insufficiently and inadequately addressed by competent institutions, often under the pretext that CEFM are part of Roma tradition.
As such, the CEFM represent severe violations of human rights, contrary to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. According to UNICEF’s 2014 MICS, the percentage of girls who entered into marriage before their 15th birthday is 16.9% compared to 0.8% of non-Roma girls, or 57% of Roma girls compared to 6.8% non-Roma girls who entered into marriage before their 18th birthday. However, since the CEFM within the Roma community are predominantly common-law marriages, the real percentage is much higher. In addition, the statistics show that 4% of women have given birth before the age of 15, and even 38% of women aged 20-24 have given birth before the age of 18.
Within the project “Legal Assistance to Persons at Risk of Statelessness in Serbia”, funded by UNHCR, throughout 2016 Praxis will, among others, conduct activities directed at prevention and elimination of child, early and forced marriages (CEFM). The main activities will focus on raising awareness of Roma children and parents of potential risks and consequences of CEFM, as well as on advocacy aimed at prevention and elimination of CEFM at the local and national level.
For more information, see: Praxis Implements the Project Aimed at Prevention and Elimination of Child, Early and Forced Marriages