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UNICEF urges Africa to end child marriage

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The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on African countries to prioritise and adhere to their commitments to end Child Marriage.

UNICEF Country Representative Hamid El Bashir said AU member states must ensure that sufficient resources are allocated towards programmes aimed at curbing the practice of Child marriage.

ZANIS reports that Dr Bashir said this during the opening of an AU Workshop to review progress of the AU end child marriage campaign in Lusaka today.

The UNICEF Envoy has advised member states that eliminating child marriage will require addressing both the causes and consequences of the complex issues as well as the need for a strong child protection system and resources.

Dr Bashir stated that the UN reaffirms commitment to support the AU, African Governments, Civil Society and African young people in broad based movement to address child marriage as key towards achieving Africa’s agenda 2063.

And Minister of Gender Victoria Kalima in a speech read for her by Gender Permanent Secretary Edwidge Mutale, told the AU delegates that Zambia faces challenges in dealing with ending early child marriage.

Ms Kalima said government has endeavoured to put in place programmes that will tackle and eliminate child marriage in corroboration with the ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs.

Ms Kalima said President Edgar Lungu and his government have committed themselves to enhancing education opportunities and promoting the rights of the girl by removing impediments that inhibit their progression.

The minister said government will continue to introduce new programmes to eradicate gender based violence, child marriages and teenage pregnancies.

She said Zambia is aware that Child marriages and teenage pregnancies are not just a violation of human rights that rob both girl and boy children of their rights to health, social- culture and economic security but are also a harmful practice impacting negatively on children.

The three day meeting is aimed at taking stoke of the achievements of the end child marriage campaign at the continental and national level and evaluate and see how far the campaign can be taken further.

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