Posted: 26 August, 2021 | Author: AfricLaw | Filed under: Nqobani Nyathi | Tags: ACERWC, Africa, African Commission, child marriage, child marriages, children's rights, Committee of Experts on the Rights of the Child, constitution, Constitution of Zimbabwe, discrimination, gender inequality, girl child, human rights, Maputo Protocol, Marriage Act, Marriages Bill, provisions, religion, religious justification, religious sects, reproductive health, rights of children, rule of law, sexual rights, SRHR, women's rights, Zimbabwe |
Author: Nqobani Nyathi
Researcher, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
Recently, there have been reports about a 14-year old child who died during childbirth. The reason why such a tragedy happened and may continue to happen is the State’s failure or unwillingness to eradicate child marriages. This article seeks to outline Zimbabwe’s legislative framework regarding child marriages and its obligations in terms of international law.
The legal position
Child marriage is illegal in Zimbabwe as held by Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court. In January 2016, the apex court rightly found that the legislative provisions legalising child marriages were inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The Constitution has fairly strong provisions promoting and protecting the rights of children, including the right to be protected from sexual exploitation or any form of abuse. The Court also observed that historically there has been a “lack of common social consciousness on the problems of girls who became victims of early marriages.”
The fact that child marriages had to be declared illegal through litigation exposes this lack of common social consciousness. Zimbabwe had been clinging to the archaic law legalising the marriage of children in terms of both the Marriage Act 81 of 1964 and the Customary Marriages Act 23 of 1950.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: 15 June, 2015 | Author: AfricLaw | Filed under: Michael Addaney | Tags: African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Child Assault Units, child marriages, child protsitution, child sexual abuse, Children and Social Affairs, Children’s Act of 2008, Children’s Court, constitution, Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC, cruel treatment, family, health, international human rights obligations, Juvenile Justice Act of 2008, Ministry of Gender, Mozambique, post-trauma counselling, rights and welfare of children., sexual violence, UNICEF, victims, violent |
Author: Michael Addaney
Student (MPhil Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa), Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
Global statistics indicate that child sexual abuse is increasing with an estimated 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 having experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual abuse. According to the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Commission, one out of three girls in Sub-Saharan African experiences some form of sexual violence before the age of 18. In Mozambique alone, 33% of children between 12 and 15 years have been victims of sexual violence, one of the highest rates in the world.
Also, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) observes that child prostitution is a growing concern in Mozambique. The Mozambican Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Affairs links the increased sexual violence with the country’s failure in the realisation of the child’s right to education with an estimated 36% of girls aged between 13 and 18 years married instead of being in school.
This situation is also attributed to the Mozambican civil war which weakened institutions particularly those protecting the rights and welfare of children. Despite major sector-specific strategic frameworks to combat sexual violence against children, these are often done with little consultation and coordination. This has had a deleterious effect on the enforcement of children’s rights through the existing legal and institutional arrangements.
Meanwhile, Mozambique is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter), Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and all the relevant international human rights instruments. The domestic framework for addressing sexual violence against children includes the Children’s Act of 2008 and Juvenile Justice Act of 2008 which translate the CRC and the ACRWC into national child rights legislation.
Read the rest of this entry »