The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated annually on 11th October. The main aims of the day are to promote girl’s empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights while also highlighting the challenges that girls all over the world face.
In Serbia, Roma girls live in accordance to strict patriarchal norms and they are victims of early, arranged and child marriages. During six months of 2018, we had received to counseling and provisioning support in 7 newly reported cases of underage arranged marriages of girls aged 13 to 17. Roma girls live in fear of this practice, fear to report it since they will stay without their primary families due to implementation of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia and often they suffer in silence and do not want to legally prosecute violence that happened to them or that is still happening.
Institutions in the Republic of Serbia do not implement adequately legislations and to not react on practice of early marriages calling on the customs rights what is direct violation of human rights of girls. Early marriage is sexual violence against girls. Association will continue to actively advocate for strengthening institutional responses against such practice, stronger implementations of legislation and for adoption of support measures to girls victims of sexual violence that happens under such practice.