Picture for representational purpose only – AFP
CAIRO - 26 September 2018: Azza al-Ashmawi, secretary-general of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM), received Tuesday evening Mary Bacom, special rapporteur on child marriage at the African Union (AU) Commission.
Bacom praised the council's role in combating child marriage in Egypt and achieving tangible results.
The meeting was attended by officials of the ministries of interior, foreign affairs, justice, health, population, solidarity, and the Public Prosecutor's Office, as well as representatives of the National Council for Women, Al Azhar and the Church, and UNICEF Egypt Director.
Ashmawi pointed out that, like many African countries, Egypt suffers from child marriage phenomenon, which is necessarily linked to the economic, social and cultural conditions. She added that early marriage deprives thousands of girls of their childhood and their education, limiting their chances and choices in life.
The secretary-general asserted that the political leadership in Egypt is aware of the importance of solving this problem. During President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's speech in 2017, he referred to the rate of child marriage and underscored the importance of taking serious actions to eliminate this harmful practice.
According to Bruno Mays, UNICEF representative in Egypt, 17 percent of Egyptian girls married before the age of 18 and 15 percent married before the age of 16. There is a decline in the prevalence of early marriage in some areas, but offset by an increase in Upper Egypt and rural areas.
Mays added that one of the most important results of the cooperation with the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood was the formation of the national team to eliminate violence against children, which prepared the national strategic framework for the elimination of violence.