The committee of the 193-nation General Assembly of the United Nations has agreed that members should pass laws banning child marriages. According to UN statistics there are now more that 700 million women who were married before their 18th birthday with child marriages afffecting about 15 million girls every year. Christina Kalamwina, the deputy permanent representative of Zambia initiated the resolution with Canada. She commented that child marriage impeded poverty reduction, education, gender equality and women’s empowerment, child mortality, maternal health, and combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The resolution points out that early marriage is also a serious threat to the physical and psychological health of girls who are not physically mature enough as it “increases the risk of unintended pregnancy, maternal and newborn mortality and sexually transmitted infections.” Download the resolution statement here.