A Manicaland based organisation Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD) has urged African governments to take the issue of child marriages seriously instead of the current tokenist approach.
In a statement to mark the Day of The African Child which is commemorated on the 16 of June every year, PYCD said despite the efforts to eliminate harmful cultural practices, young remain vulnerable to child marriages, sexual abuse and trafficking.
“As an organisation, PYCD is cognizant of the fact that for the past decade, governments in Africa have made efforts to eliminate all forms of harmful cultural and social practices hindering children from realizing their full potential.
“Whilst some of the activities fit the category of progress, we take note that most of these have been for tokenism with young people still among the vulnerable and poorest in the world,” the organisation said.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has applauded the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe and Government for outlawing child marriages and enacting the Marriages Act which prohibits the marrying of minors who are under the age of 18.
“ZHRC further applauds the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe for outlawing child marriages. The Government of Zimbabwe also enacted the Marriages Act [Chapter 5:15] in May 2022, which prohibits this harmful practice. The
Education Amendment Act Number 15 of 2020 prohibited corporal punishment of children in schools, which was previously viewed as positive practice for instilling discipline amongst learners, yet it amounts to inhumane, degrading, and cruel treatment and punishment,” said ZHRC.
The commission urged government to adequately funds its policy instruments to ensure effective implementation of child protection laws.