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Human Rights Calendar

Days that you can use to speak about forced marriage

One way of bringing forced marriage into the conversation is to connect it to a particular theme or issue. Listed here are days from the Human Rights Calendar, each linking to forced marriage in their own way – through topics such as gender equality, homophobia, poverty, conflict, youth, mental health, and education.


24 January – International Day of Education

This day marks the importance of education across the world. Education of girls and women is a known preventative against forced, child and early marriages.


8 March – International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day works both draws attention to gender inequalities, and celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women. Women and girls are the most impacted by forced marriage.

25 March – International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

This day remembers and mourns those who have lived in slavery, particularly those impacted by the Transatlantic slave trade. It is also used to draw attention to the plight of those experiencing modern slavery today.


15 May – International Day of Families

Forced marriage is an issue that overwhelmingly takes place within families – this day represents an opportunity for discussion about how to support families to avoid forced marriage.

17 May – The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

This is an opportunity to speak about LGBTIQ people being at greater risk of forced marriage, and of experiencing honour-based violence – and to promote respect for all, and to condemn homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.


1 June – Global Day of Parents

This day celebrates parents, and draws attention to their important role in raising happy, healthy children. It can be a starting point to talk about the enormous difference parents can make in their children’s lives, including by allowing them to make their own choices around marriage.

4 June – International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression

“Commemorated since 1982 to acknowledge and remind people of the suffering of many children victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse and of the need to protect the rights of children.” This day focuses on children living in warzones and situations of conflict, and those who are experiencing violence. We know that children in conflict zones are at increased risk of displacement and forced marriage.

18 June – International Day for Countering Hate Speech

Unfortunately, the issue of forced marriage can be a lightning rod for prejudice, including xenophobia, racism and Islamophobia. This is a day to say loudly that we can and should address forced marriage while refusing to let it be used as a political football or as an excuse for bigotry.

20 June – World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day honours refugees around the globe, and “celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution”. We know that displacement and conflict can make people more vulnerable to forced marriages.


15 July – World Youth Skills Day

World Youth Skills Day celebrates “the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship”. We know that educating young people, and building their abilities and independence can help them to avoid forced and early marriages.

30 July – World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

This day marks and condemns human trafficking. The majority of reported forced marriages in Australia involve exit trafficking – where someone is coerced or deceived into leaving the country.


12 August – International Youth Day

This day draws attention to issues affecting youth around the world. We know that youth are the group most at risk of forced marriage.

23 August – International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

This day commemorates the 23rd August 1791, “when slaves of Santo Domingo in the Caribbean launched an insurrection which ultimately led to the Haitian revolution and promoted the cause of human rights.” Forced marriage is recognised as a kind of modern slavery, depriving people of their freedom and their basic human rights.


8 September – International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day highlights “the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights”. This day relates to the right to education; the right to full physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development; and the right to equality. Literacy and education can help prevent children and adults from being forced into marriages, or from being married early.


2 October – International Day of Non-Violence

This day takes place on the 2nd October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. It is an occasion to spread “the message of non-violence, [and to promote] a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence”.

Forced marriage is in itself a form of violence, committed using various kinds of violence (whether emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.) – and sadly often results in further violence when living in a forced marriage.

10 October – World Mental Health Day

This day aims to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world, including drawing attention to “what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide”.

We know that forced marriage has an immense impact on the mental health and wellbeing of those who experience it – often resulting in trauma, and even increasing likelihood of suicidal ideation.

11 October – International Day of the Girl

“Girls around the world continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, their physical and mental wellness, and the protections needed for a life without violence… [but] the world's 600 million adolescent girls have shown time and time again that given the skills and the opportunities, they can be the changemakers driving progress in their communities, building back stronger for all, including women, boys and men.” Forced marriage disproportionately affects girls and women.

17 October – International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

This day is dedicated to the eradication of poverty around the world, particularly in developing countries. We know that living in poverty, and the risk of falling into poverty, are drivers of forced marriages across the world.


20 November – World Children’s Day

This day promotes the welfare of children across the world. This includes their “right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated, and to have their views heard”.

Hundreds of millions of people around the world are forced to marry in childhood. Early marriage is associated with increased mortality rates, limited opportunities, and negative impacts on physical and mental health.

25 November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

The 25th November raises awareness of violence against women. Across the world, it’s estimated that one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. While it affects all genders, forced marriage is a form of gendered violence that overwhelmingly affects women and girls.


2 December – International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

This day commemorates slavery’s abolition, and also raises awareness of slavery continuing today. In 2022, it was estimated that 49.6 million people were living in slavery on any given day around the globe. Just under half of these people are living in forced marriages.

3 December – International Day of Persons with Disabilities

This day promotes the rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities, including the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities “can participate fully, equally and effectively in society with others, and face no barriers in all aspects of their lives”. While it’s very under-researched, we know that people with intellectual disability can be at greater risk of forced marriage.

10 December – Human Rights Day

This day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Forced marriage is a violation of several human rights, including our freedom to choose who we wish to marry.

Explore our Toolkit, and find out how you can make a difference.

Section One: How to support a friend

Section Two: The facts and the myths

Section Three: Engaging with your community

Examples of awareness-raising

Section Four: Responding to prejudice and racism