‘Zambia intent on fighting early marriages’

ZAMBIA has continued to engage traditional leaders in an effort to reform traditions and customs that have been perpetuating the harmful practice of early and forced marriages, an envoy has said.

Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Ngosa Simbyakula, said Zambia was committed to the fight against early and forced marriages as the vice robbed the girl child of her rights to health, education and consequently her future and better life.
He said this at the ongoing 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 75) General Debate for the Third Committee in New York.
He said the Government had continued to engage traditional leaders in an effort to reform traditions and customs that had been perpetuating the harmful practice.
Dr Simbyakula said Zambia was implementing the Re-Entry Policy which promoted the girl child’s right to school.
The policy, he said, had helped reduce the prevalence of Child Early and Forced Marriage among girls.
Dr Simbyakula said Zambia recognised that increasing the girls’ access to education had the profound impact on the realization of their full potential including the status of their families.
In order to promote the social and economic lives of girls, Dr Simbyakula said, Government had prioritised the enrolment and retention of girls in schools, which was a sure way of promoting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
“Government has put in place policy measures such as the introduction of the Re-Entry policy and the construction of primary and secondary schools in various parts of the country.
“The Re-Entry Policy in particular has helped in reducing the prevalence of Child Early and Forced Marriages as the policy allows education authorities to grant leave to girls who fall pregnant to write their examinations while pregnant or take leave from studies,” he said.
Dr Simbyakula said Government had continued to safeguard livelihoods of its citizens by scaling up the social protection programmes such as the Social Security Pack, the emergency Cash Transfer Scheme and the Support Women Livelihood Programmes.
This is contained in a statement Issued by First Secretary (Press) Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations, Wallen Simwaka.

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