East Africa

Tanzania court uphold a new law banning child marriage

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On Wednesday, October 24, the Tanzanian Supreme Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling that raised the minimum age of marriage to eighteen.

Moreover, Child welfare and women’s advocates find the decision a win.

According to United Nations estimates, three in ten girls in Tanzania are married before their 18th birthday.

However, Human Rights Watch has documented the devastating lifelong consequences for girls of child marriage.

Meanwhile, a high court ruling in 2016 had declared unconstitutional, the section of Tanzania’s marriage act that allows the practice.

Although, the judgment came because of a legal challenge by children’s rights activists.

These activists argued that the existing law had pushed many girls into underage marriages.

The Attorney General of the State, however, appealed against the ruling.

They claimed that child marriage could protect unmarried girls who get pregnant.

By and large, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the attorney general’s appeal.

The court asked Tanzania’s government to respect the previous ruling.

Tanzania has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.

Therefore, child activists must continue to mount pressure on the government to implement the ruling.

The Campaign Group Equality said the marriage act needs to be amended to reflect the courts’ Judgement.

Henceforth, the minimum age of marriage in Tanzania should be eighteen for both boys and girls.

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