HomeLocal NewsChildren’s rights groups urged to zero in on harmful beliefs

Children’s rights groups urged to zero in on harmful beliefs

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A TOP government official has called on stakeholders involved in the protection of children’s rights to zoom in on some “harmful religious, social and cultural beliefs” and lobby for their urgent review as they were fuelling child marriages.

By Phyllis Mbanje

Ernest Chimbodza, Harare provincial development officer in the Women and Gender Affairs ministry, last week told stakeholders at the launch of a play Save Your Children by Vuka Afrika Performing Arts in Highfield, Harare, that child marriages had become cancerous.

“Early child marriages are now a cancer ravaging our society and need to be dealt with decisively in a manner that involves all key stakeholders in ensuring the absolute protection of the girl child!” Chimbodza said.

He added: “Churches hide behind religious beliefs claiming that the ‘holy spirit’ has directed an old man to be a husband of a girl as young as nine years. This does not only lead into the girl being a mother looking after another child, but also into maternal complications and difficulties in childbirth which in most cases lead to death.”

“The play we are launching today was crafted to reflect on the effects of early child marriage and in the process motivating behavioural change amongst communities at all levels,” he said.

The thrust of the play was premised on how girls exposed to poverty, peer pressure and lack of negotiating skills end up in unplanned marriages.

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