Zimbabwe: Activists call for tougher action against child marriages

| December 21, 2015

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Child rights activists launched a campaign last week to call on the authorities to stop men from using marriage to avoid criminal charges from having sex with underage girls. Child marriage often ends a girl’s education and exposes her to health risks from early childbearing and HIV.

The exact scale of child marriage in Zimbabwe is unknown as most child marriages are unregistered customary unions. But UNICEF reports statistics which show that one in nine girls in Zimbabwe aged under 15 is married.

Judith Chiyangwa is Director of NGO Girls Legacy. She questions whether the government is committed to act despite mounting pressure. Ms. Chiyangwa asks, “Is there political will to do this?”

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Photo credit: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo