ACCRA, FEBRUARY 12 2016 (CISA) – The African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr. Mustapha Kaloko has implored member states of African Union (AU) to stop child marriages.
Dr Kaloko was speaking at a dinner hosted at Ghana’s old Statehouse in honour of African First Ladies attending the 7th African Conference on Sexual Health and Rights (ACSHR).
The First Lady of Ghana, Dr Nana Mahama, while launching Ghana’s national campaign to end child marriages said that despite African countries having the minimum age of marriage set at 18 years within respective legislations, the law to protect the minors has not been enforced.
“In many countries, child marriages are fuelled by poverty and negative cultures that do not place any value on the girl child except for creating wealth in the family,” said Dr. Mahama.
She noted that early marriage attracts consequences. It complicates the health of victims, kills dreams, aspirations, and human potential besides interrupting the childhood of the girls and perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty. In support of the campaign, President Mahama of Ghana said, “Our children should not be forced to marry people they neither know nor love.”
A senior UNICEF official for Central and Western Africa mentioned that the organization takes pride in the campaign and will galvanize itself to ensure resources and energy to end the practice are given.
The launch was attended by African first ladies including H.E. Margaret Kenyatta of Kenya.