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Early marriage child mother.

Reactions to ‘criminalise child marriages’

THANK you for your article of last week Wednesday April 5, 2017 that was entitled ‘Criminalise child marriages – ZLDC’ where you wrote on the need to hold perpetrators of child marriages accountable; this is because the situation still seems to be the same for young girls being married off a tender age.
I live in Kapiri Mposhi which is a rural area and I have witnessed so many young girls being married off for different reasons. I believe that as long as some challenges people in such areas face are not attended to, it will be difficult to end this scourge that has destroyed the lives of many girls.
Firstly, there is need to harmonise the two marriage systems you alluded to: statute law and customary law. Many people in the rural areas use customary law to justify their actions. There is need for Government to formulate and have one law that should be applicable to everyone to protect young girls.
Secondly for as long as poverty exists, it will be difficult to end child marriages. From experience it seems a girl child is usually considered a source of survival for some parents. Marrying off their young daughters gives them a chance to uplift their social status even for a short while without realising the harm they are putting the girls into.
These dangers include health complications that arise from pregnancy and child birth because such girls are not physically or mentally ready to be mothers; this has contributed to high maternal and infant mortality rates.
Furthermore, these girls are prone to physical abuse and they do not have a voice to decide on family planning or safe practice thereby exposing them to sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV.
That is why I feel if these and other challenges are not seriously addressed it will be difficult to end child marriages especially that we all agree that these acts are a violation of the rights of the young victims who are not only human beings, but are children and women as well.
T.C. Moonga
Kapiri Mposhi
Remember, children are our future, wishing everyone a blessed Easter period.
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