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State to launch child marriage court

DOREEN NAWA & MWAPE MWENYA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT will on December 10 launch the fast- track courts that will be dealing with cases of child marriage and child sexual abuse.
Minister of Gender and Child Development Nkandu Luo said the launch will coincide with the end of the commemoration of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence which was launched on November 25.
Prof Luo said the fast track courts will help in dealing with cases early and reduce on withdrawals by victims.
The minister was speaking at a press conference during the first African Girls Summit on Ending Child Marriage.
“Child marriage is a gender issue which needs to be curbed. We have collaborated with 11 ministries to fight the scourge and ensure that girls are empowered and continue with their education,” Prof Luo said.
She said Government has also set up one-stop centres country-wide to help handle child marriage, gender-based violence and other domestic violence cases.
Speaking earlier, African Union social affairs commissioner Mustapha Kaloko said HIV in child marriages has continued increasing.
“A man who is capable of marrying a young girl is in most cases not sexually satisfied and can be going out to look for other women; most girls are disadvantaged,” Dr Kaloko said.
Dr Kaloko said child marriage has a negative impact on social economic development.
And Canadian member of Parliament Joyce Murray said her country is committed to ending child and forced marriages.
“About 15 million children are married off before they turn 18; this disrupts their access to education, jeopardises their health and makes them vulnerable to violence,” Ms Murray said.
UNICEF associate director for child protection Cornelius Williams said concerted efforts from government and other stakeholders are the only sure way to ending child marriages.
Meanwhile, African-American scholar Terrerai Trent says education of girls is a vital component in shaping their future.
Speaking during the plenary session at the African Union (AU) first African girls’ summit on ending child marriage in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Trent said education has the ability to lift every human being out of poverty.
“To see a sure exit to child marriage, we need to put girls at the centre of every activity. Let’s ensure that we give them an education as the best empowerment,” Dr Trent said.
And AU goodwill ambassador on ending child marriage Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda said the summit is a commitment that Africa is determined to end child marriage.
She said Africa should stop using the word marriage when referring to the vice because doing so is giving child marriage a legal right.


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