President Edgar Lungu is determined to ending the scourge of Early and Forced Child Marriage in Africa and will continue to engage with other African leaders at the highest level to rid the Continent of the vice that has been endemic for many years, the United Nations has been informed.
Zambia’s Minister of Gender Elizabeth Phiri told the United Nations that President Lungu has continued to campaign against Early and Forced Child Marriage in Africa because he is a firm advocate of the protection of rights of the girl child.
Mrs. Phiri said President Lungu in his capacity as the Champion on Ending Early Child Marriage in Africa and working with the African Union has continued to guide the campaign against Early and Forced Child Marriage on the Continent.
Delivering her key note address at the 63rd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women side event dubbed; “Accelerating the elimination of harmful practices to reap the demographic dividend in Africa,” Mrs. Phiri said the campaign against Early Child Marriage in Africa has resulted into the formulation of legislation and national plans aimed at eradicating the vice in Africa.
The side event was hosted by Zambia, Burkina Faso, Canada and Italy in partnership with UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA and the African Union.
She stated that it is the responsibility of African governments to continue to challenge all forms of discriminatory laws and negative social norms under which the scourge of Early Child Marriage has continued to be perpetrated.
Mrs. Phiri said there is need for Governments in Africa to change the negative and social norms which have been perpetuating the harmful practices and that the change would only be come if governments continued to work with traditional leaders who are the custodian of cultures.
“President Lungu in his capacity as the Champion on Early Child Marriage in Africa, together with the African Union, continues to guide the campaign against the vice. It is our responsibility to challenge the discriminatory laws and negative social norms under which the vice of Early Child Marriage is being practiced,” Mrs. Phiri said.
She explained that educating the girl child remains the key component to ending child marriage because an enlightened and educated girl would acquire the abilities to stand against any form of social injustices as well as fight for her rights.
The Minister stated that Zambia and Canada together with a core group from of countries from all regions has tabled a resolution on Ending Child, Early and Forced Marriage in the General Assembly which has since been adopted by consensus by Member States.
She said Zambia is gratified that the 2018 resolution has among other things called on Member States and the International Community to pay special attention to the needs of girls and women.
“Ending Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) requires multi-stakeholder efforts from governments, cooperating partners, cultural and religious institutions and the media to take action towards the elimination of the harmful practices,” She added.
This is according to a statement issued to the media by First Secretary for Press at Zambia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations Wallen Simwaka.