Zambia has been commended for her determination to end and eliminate child marriage and forced marriages through formulation of comprehensive legislative and policy frameworks meant to protect the rights of children from all forms of violence.
Zonta International, a global orgainisation whose motto is to empower women through service and advocacy, with about 30 000 members in 66 countries has applauded Zambia for engaging the traditional leadership in fighting the scourge of child marriage and forced marriages.
It was founded in 1919.
The organization is equally happy that there has been political will from Zambia’s political leadership in the fight against child marriage and forced marriages which has seen President Edgar Lungu, being recognized as a champion for the He for She Champion by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of the women.
This was during side event on the margins of the 2017 United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at which Zambia Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Christine Kalamwina made a presentation on child marriage and forced marriages.
The 2017 UN ECOSOC High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is themed: “Eradiating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.“
Ms Kalamwina said while Zambia’s statutory laws prohibited child marriage and forced marriages, the vice is on the other hand being perpetrated by traditional laws and cultures hence Government’s resolve to engage the traditional leadership to curb the scourge.
She said besides contributing to high maternal mortality, child marriageand forced marriages caused other complications among children such as sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.
“The scenario of early and forced marriages and teen pregnancies has become worrisome and Zambia’s goal has been to find ways of eliminating or reducing early marriages and teen pregnancies. Government considers the promotion and protection of the rights of children as fundamental to their wellbeing even as guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child which Zambia is party to. A comprehensive legislative and policy framework has therefore been formulated to address acts of violence against women and children,” Ms Kalamwina said.
Ms Kalamwina said with the strengthening of the country’s legislation, measures have been taken to ensure that sexual abuse cases against children are now seen as serious offences that attract stiff punishment of a minimum 15 years by the Courts of law.
She stated that Government is in the process of drafting the Children’s Code Bill which once enacted would ensure comprehensive domestication of various international instruments and treaties on children’s right in Zambia.
“Achieving the SDGs is not just a question of implementing the goals but we need to ensure quality life and promote and protect children’s rights. The goals on poverty, health and gender equality are therefore critical on the need to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls,” Ms Kalamwina said,
This is according to the press statement issued by First Secretary for Press at Permanent Mission of Zambia to the United Nations Wallen Simwaka.