News Report Summary
Two former British colonies, The Gambia and Tanzania have now banned early child marriage.
The Gambia imposed a possible 20yrs jail term for anyone involved in any early child marriage practice, effective from Wednesday 6th July 2016.
This is said to apply to anyone who marries someone at under 18yrs old.
Following this announcement, Tanzania also had a court ruling to ban early child marriage. This Initiative was led by their women’s advocacy group Msichana, who lodged a legal case against the Tanzania Law of Marriage Act earlier this year, making it illegal to marry any boy or girl under 18yrs.
As reported on Girls Not Brides ( website) “Each year 15million girls are married before the age of 18, which is 28 girls every minute and 1 every 2 seconds.
It is believe that early child marriage does affects the education, health and opportunities of both girls and boys in our society”.
The issues of Early child marriage has become one of the most complex and controversial topics, depending in what part of the world you come from or live. Underlining factors such as
gender inequality, poverty, cultural practices and lack of knowledge cause the wide prevalence of the practice.
In The Gambia, this issue is much more common within the underage girls living in the rural areas. Whereas most of the times, they have no say or cannot exercise their basic human rights, either because of fear or a seeking for an elusive better lifestyle.
In Tanzania girls were allowed to be married at an age as little as 14 and boys at 18 as long as their parents consented to it .
Some women’s rights groups and activists have also welcomed the move and felt that it is another milestone achieved, in their constant fight to end early child marriage worldwide.
They believe that young girls should be given equal opportunities for a better future. However they also said that instead of imposing the ban forcefully, they would like to see more of community awareness, integrations and engagements on this issue.
As disclosed to Thomson Reuters Foundation, Isatou Jeng of the women’s rights organisation girls agenda said “I don’t believe locking parents up is the answer, as it could lead to a major backlash and sabotage on the ban” .
“It is essential to empower girls, to protect their rights and provide meaningful alternatives to marriage that are valued by communities, such as education,” said Ruth Koshal of Girls Not Brides (Senior officer for Africa engagement).
For more on this story Visit BBC (to insert link) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36746174
Girls Not Brides link: http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/