Swaziland – child marriages banned

Swaziland – child marriages banned

Date: November 26, 2012
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Lawmakers in Swaziland recently declared illegal the practice of men marrying underage girls – which has been an accepted social norm for centuries. This has however been linked to the spread of HIV in recent years.

Known in SiSwati as ‘kwendizisa’, the marriage of an adult man to an underage girl, society considered this a legal “grey area” prior to the promulgation of the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act of 2012. According to the 2005 Swaziland constitution, some customary practices are allowed unless they conflict with constitutional clauses.

“Swazi men marrying girls once the girls enter puberty is not a customary law. It is not mandatory. It is tolerated because it has always been done. But times are changing, and Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world. This practice has added to the spread of HIV. It is a great victory for public health and for the rights of girl children that this outmoded practice must now end,” AIDS activist Sandra Kunene told IRIN/PlusNews.

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Source: IRIN PlusNews

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