UN Human Rights Council Adopts Sixth Resolution on Child, Early and Forced Marriage – with New Language Addressing Coerced Religious Conversion

GENEVA, Switzerland  – 9 August 2023 |The UN Human Rights Council officially adopts its 6th resolution on child, early and forced marriage on 12th July 2023,  this year for the first time bringing visibility to cases such as Leah Sharibu with new language raising concern with the use of coerced conversions by armed groups.

Jubilee Campaign joined the ADF International initiative to call for additional language in the resolution on Child, Early and Forced Marriage, addressing the concerning trend of coerced conversions and forced marriages [in reality a form of religiously sanctioned slavery/trafficking] by non-state actors, as highlighted in several reports Jubilee Campaign has submitted to the UN body.* 

While not all the language supported by the 40-strong multi-faith coalition of organisations and human rights advocates was adopted it has allowed for the issue to come to the attention of the UN Human Rights Council and hopefully garner further action, “…while our suggested language proposals were not accepted verbatim, we were nevertheless successful in our objective of ensuring recognition of this trend in the resolution. […] This sets a powerful precedent for future advocacy efforts in the context of the UN and beyond, on this topic as well as other FoRB-related issues,” Jonas Fiebrantz, Advocacy Officer with ADF International shared with the supporters of the language proposal. 

The new language adopted in the resolution [in bold]:

Deeply concerned also by reports of forced religious conversion and by forced marriage imposed by armed groups, strongly condemning attacks on and abductions of women and girls, including terrorist attacks, urging States to protect them from attacks, and recognizing that forced marriage may result in situations that meet the international legal definition of slavery,”

*[The Situation of Girls in Nigeria, Sudan, and Pakistan: Child Marriage as a Form of Gender-Based Violence and an Obstacle to Empowerment; Conversion without Consent: A report on the abductions, forced conversions, and forced marriages of Christian girls and women in PakistanTrafficking of Coptic Christian Women and Girls in the Arab Republic of EgyptAbductions, Forced Faith Conversions, and Marriages of Underaged Christian Girls in Pakistan].

Photo Creative Commons Licence Jubilee Campaign