ZAMBIA MULLS CRIMINALIZING CHILD MARRIAGES
Published: 21 April 2017
Last Updated: 21 April 2017
21 Apr 2017
The Zambian government said it was in the process of reviewing a law governing marriages in order to criminalize child marriages, state media reported on Thursday.
Minister of Gender Victoria Kalima said the government has been prompted to review the Marriage Act because it was concerned that the problem of early marriages had continued despite attempts to discourage it.
The ministry, she said, had been making wide consultations on criminalizing child marriages and that so far tremendous progress has been recorded.
"We are harmonizing the Marriage Act because the constitution states something else. We want to harmonize the age of a child," she is quoted saying by the Times of Zambia.
Criminalizing child marriages would help to deter parents or guardians from marrying off underage children for fear of being jailed, she added.
Zambia has over the years been experiencing the problem of child marriages involving girls below the age of 18, especially in rural parts of the southern African nation.
The country has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world, with 42 percent of women aged 20 to 24 years married before 18 years.