Home » Human Rights » Child Marriages – Govt Urged to Act

Government has been urged to institute a commission of inquiry into the prevalence of child marriages in Zimbabwe and review current legislation as part of measures to curb the practice. The call was made Glen Norah member of Parliament Mr Webster Maondera (MDC-T) on Thursday when he gave notice to move a motion to raise awareness on the practice. In his notice, Mr Maondera said there was inadequate education in communities on the negative effects of child marriages.

“There is lack of education to communities on how heinous child marriages are and how they destroy the children’s future,” he said.

Mr Maondera then called on Government to: “urgently review existing legislation, if any, and come up with stringent penalties. If there is no legislation which adequately deals with this scourge, Government to immediately come up with such, so that Parliament enacts it without further delay and roll out programmes aimed at assisting victims of child marriages.”

He said Government should: “immediately come up with educational programmes to educate communities in all the country’s 10 provinces on the ills of child marriages and commission a research in all the country’s ten provinces in order to determine the magnitude of the scourge in Zimbabwe.”

There are no reliable statistics on child marriages in the country due to the fact that in most instances the victims have no recourse to law or are inhibited by societal practices.

However, a 2011 report by the Research and Aocacy Unit showed that at least 21 percent of children, mostly girls, had been married before attaining 18 years of age.

The motion will be debated when Parliament resumes sitting in January after breaking for the festive season.

Source : The Herald