1 February 2013

South Africa: Department of Women, Children and People With Disabilities Statement On 13 Year-Old Child Marriage

press release

The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities condemns is the strongest possible terms the alleged marriage of 13 year old child to a 57 year old man.

This is the worst form of child abuse and a tragic violation of a child's rights. Girls have a right not to be forced into early marriages or sexual relationships. Girls must be allowed to stay in school to achieve their future dreams. Child marriages have been shown to virtually end the girl's future as it effectively puts an end to her schooling.

Preventing child marriage will protect girls' rights and help reduce their risks of violence, early pregnancy, HIV infection, and maternal death and disability. When girls are able to stay in school and avoid being married early, they can build a foundation for a better life for themselves and their families.

As a department we are confident that the law-enforcement agencies will do everything in their power to ensure that the rights of this innocent girl will be prioritised. Our wish is that this girl will go back and be allowed to live her life as any child again.

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