Push to end child marriages

Push to end child marriages

MASERU – GENDER Minister Kabelo Mafura says the government must tighten laws that protect children to end child marriages in Africa.
Mafura was speaking at the launch of the End Child Marriage Campaign in Maseru last Thursday.
He said child marriages ruin the future of young girls.

The ills of child marriages were discussed during the two-day conference last week.
The campaign brought together the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs and other local relevant stakeholders including children.
Mafura said child marriage ruins the future of young girls “as it denies them an opportunity to attend school”.

He said after being married, some do not continue with their education.
“That destroys their future,” he said.

He said the failure by these young children to access education leads to unemployment which leads to their families being trapped in poverty.
Mafura said child marriage also contributes to other social ills.
The campaign forms part of the AU mandate to create an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss issues that lead to child marriage.
They also discussed how child marriages affect children.

Participants at the campaign were expected to pass recommendations and encourage law enforcers to adopt laws that will end child marriage.
Mafura said ending child marriage is one of the key goals of his ministry, noting that the Education Act of 2010 makes it compulsory for every child to attend school.

He added the new education curriculum will promote good practices which they believe will contribute towards ending child marriages.
Mafura said the government wants to see an end to all child marriages in Lesotho in line with objective 5.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals to end all child marriages by 2030.

He said he is glad to realise that many countries are aware of this phenomenon and are standing against child marriage.
Speaking at the event, the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira El-Fadil, said child marriage has been practised in Africa for centuries.
She said this is a harmful practice that violates the rights of young girls.

She said it negatively affects countries socially and economically, highlighting need for adoption of continental, regional and national policies and strategies in order to end child marriage.

She said to end this “we need to have international and economic policies”.
She said the countries facing this phenomenon should work hard to reduce poverty.
“The country needs to have laws that ban child marriage,” she said.

“We need to have as many awareness campaigns as possible and also have strategies,” she said.
She said they need every child to go to school whether they are in the rural or urban areas.
The commissioner said education plays a major role in every child’s life.
The campaign was graced by drama and poems perfomances which echoed ending child marriage and the children’s parliament session was also held.

‘Makhotso Rakotsoane

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