Marriage Laws in Africa - A Compendium from 55 African Union Member States

Authors/editor(s): African Union Commission, UN Women and Plan International

This Compendium is a collection of marriage laws across African Member States developed to serve as an updated compilation of Member States’ legal frameworks and legislation related to marriage. The Compendium was first developed in 2016 and recently updated in June 2018. It was compiled through desk reviews of Member States’ legal frameworks, including: constitutions, civil codes, family laws and other partner documents and publications. The Compendium is a tool to inform Governments, policymakers, researchers, advocates, partners and other stakeholders on countries’ marriage laws, to help track child marriage reforms and identify best practice of the Member States to enable targeted advocacy in the countries that require review and reform in their marriage laws.

Child marriage legislation and laws were reviewed in all 55 African Union countries where available   to determine Member States with legal frameworks outlawing child marriage and the ones with laws legalizing child marriage as a result of either the presence of exemptions within existing marriage laws or the absence of a legal framework or law outlawing child marriage. The Compendium also tracks recent marriage law reforms, identifying Member States that are making strides in introducing new laws and repealing old laws to end child marriage in Africa. The Compendium ends with key policy recommendations for marriage law reform and actions by AU Member States and other stakeholders working to end child marriage in Africa.

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Languages available: English, French, Arabic

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Bibliographic information

Geographic coverage: Africa

UN Women office involved in publication: Liaison Office to the African Union (Addis Ababa)

Publication year: 2019

Number of pages: 61