The Law for Preventing and Combating Premature Marriages criminalizes marital unions with people under the age of 18 and stipulates a sentence of up to eight years in prison for a family member that forces the child to accept the marriage. For adults who maritally live with minors, the penalty is up to 12 years in prison, in addition to a fine.
The best news of the week comes Africa, more specifically Mozambique; this is because the country finally banned marriage between adults and children, which historically have been exchanged - still in school age - for money or for various products, which even include bicycles.
Approved in July by the Assembly of the Republic and promulgated this week by the President of the Republic of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, the Law to Prevent and Combat Premature Unions criminalizes marital unions with people under 18 and stipulates a sentence of up to eight years in prison. to the relative who forces the child to accept the union. For adults who maritally live with minors, the penalty is up to 12 years in prison, in addition to a fine.
The country in southwest Africa leads the highest rates of premature unions in the world. This reality particularly affects the provinces of Nampula, Zambézia, Cabo Delgado, Tete and Manica, in the north and center of the country.
In the district of Gondola, seven girls who lived with considerably older men were recently rescued, said Assane Ernesto, head of the Department of Children in Social Action in Manica. He also said that those responsible are in the custody of the competent authorities.
There are many cases men “order” girls for marriage, says educator António Chissambe, residing in Machaze, another district with high rates of premature marriages.
“We have many men who work in South Africa and, being there, they ask their parents to look for a girl in Mozambique. Often the parents end up handing over a school-age girl, ”Chissambe told DW Africa.
The director of Save the Children in Manica, Ana Dulce Chiluvane, revealed that, in Machaze district, many families accept to exchange a girl for marriage for a bicycle.
"Manica seems to be the Mozambican province most affected by the phenomenon, with many girls, especially poor families, who are promised to be married even before they are born, since the supposed husbands bear the costs while the mother is pregnant," revealed Chiluvane
The law that prohibits marriage to minors is a historic milestone for Mozambican and international civil society organizations working in the area of the promotion and protection of children in Mozambique.
A new stage now begins and challenges to disseminate the law so that the entire population can know and protect girls against premature unions.
Changing the laws alone will not end premature unions, it is also necessary to change the conditions, attitudes and behaviors of the population, and we will continue to work hard for this, informed the UNICEF of Mozambique.