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"To Protect Her Honour" Child marriage in emergencies – the fatal confusion between protecting girls and sexual violence

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This report examines the issue of child marriage in the Syrian context, and what we can learn from our experiences there. It is the first in CARE’s Gender and Protection in Humanitarian Contexts: Critical Issues Series which aims to highlight promising practices and/or gaps in programming, and critically analyse work in the field of gender and protection in humanitarian contexts.

The report reviews the impact of the Syrian conflict on child marriage, drawing in particular on evidence from Jordan and from CARE’s Information Volunteer programme with Syrian refugees in Turkey. It explores the reasons for and the consequences of child marriage globally; considers the human rights and legal framework; and highlights the reasons behind the increase in child marriages in emergency contexts.

Based on this evidence, and on specific experience from the Syrian refugee crisis, the report makes the case for the prevention of child marriage to take place from the start of an emergency before dangerous levels are reached, and includes detailed recommendations for donors, implementing agencies, and Syrian refugee-hosting governments.