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Revisiting Equality as a Right: The Minimum Age of Marriage Clause in the Nigerian Child Rights Act, 2003

Nkoyo Toyo
Third World Quarterly
Vol. 27, No. 7, The Politics of Rights: Dilemmas for Feminist Praxis (2006), pp. 1299-1312
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4017756
Page Count: 14
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Revisiting Equality as a Right: The Minimum Age of Marriage Clause in the Nigerian Child Rights Act, 2003
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Abstract

This article takes the Minimum Age of Marriage clause of the Nigerian Child Rights Act (CRA) of 2003 as an entry point through which to analyse the politics of women's rights in Nigeria. It explores some of the challenges of domesticating international human rights conventions in a context where plural legal systems and entrenched cultural norms complicate attempts to redress gender inequalities. It reviews the introduction of this legislation, the reaction of different stakeholders to it and the ways in which different women's groups and programmes have engaged with the emerging controversy over the age of marriage. Ultimately the lesson that emerges from this case is that, for international human rights treaties to make a difference for vulnerable groups such as children, they have to go beyond being evoked and advocated by groups to become tools for political action, which also means the creation of mechanisms that challenge powerful agents in society and compel accountability.

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