Child marriage is not a Roma tradition
Belgrade, 25 November 2020 - On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the National Coalition to End of Child Marriage launched the campaign Child marriage is not a Roma tradition. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness about this issue, which is primarily rooted in extreme poverty and not tradition or customs, as is often believed.
“For me, equality is the right to education and the right to employment. I've heard of child marriages. I think that child marriages should be eradicated, because children are not ready for marriage. Children should have a childhood and they should go to school. Marriage should come later,” says Katarina Mitrovic, who is featured in the campaign video.
“Through a directed and coordinated action of relevant actors, the National Coalition is working to end child marriages in Serbia, especially in the Roma population, by advocating for the removal of institutional and social barriers to the implementation of relevant legislative and strategic frameworks. In this fight, it is also very important to promote examples of good practice, which are realized in partnership between local communities, non-governmental organizations, through the state and private sectors and the media,” believes Radmila Nesic from the National Coalition to End Child Marriage.
The National Coalition to End Child Marriage is made up of representatives of the Coordination Body for Gender Equality from the Nisava, Macva, Jablanica and South Banat administrative districts, members of Parliamentary committees for Human and Minority Rights, Gender Equality, and Child Rights, as well as the Ombudsman, the Commissioner for Equality, representatives of the City of Belgrade, and the civil society associations Bibija, Ternipe, Roma Association Novi Becej, Roma Women's Association Osvit, Praxis, Indigo, Athens, and the Unit for Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, the Republic Institute for Social Protection, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNHCR.
The Coalition represents a community of individuals, institutions and organizations working together to strengthen the ability of Roma girls to make safe choices, as well as to empower Roma women and men, boys and girls to change existing child marriage practices.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/serbia