Lawyers warn apostolic cult leaders over child marriages

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Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has warned apostolic cult leaders against allowing child marriages, saying the long arm of the law will catch up with them.

This follows the recent enactment of the Marriage Act which abolishes and criminalizes child marriage while protecting children, especially girls, from the “unlawful and despicable practice”.

In a press release on Wednesday, ZLHR urged the public and community leaders to play their part in eradicating the practice of child marriage.

“ZLHR also wishes to inform all Apostolic Sect Leaders who have permitted child marriages that their days are numbered as the long arm of the law will catch up with them,” ZLHR said.

The human rights group has also called on traditional leaders to use their influence to ensure that child marriages are eradicated in the country.

“It is also important that traditional leaders, such as chiefs and chiefs, use their meaningful influence in their communities to ensure that the practice of child marriage is effectively eradicated, child marriage has proliferated in Zimbabwe in partly because of the traditional beliefs and customs that endorse the practice,” the statement read.

ZLHR applauded the government for criminalizing child marriages saying while stressing that there is still a lot to be done in the fight against vice.

“In order to completely eradicate the scourge of child marriage from our society, the other two branches of government – ​​the executive and the judiciary must commit to effectively enforcing the law, which now criminalizes child marriage, as well than improving access to justice. for children who may need the protection of the courts,” the organization added.

The Marriage Act was passed by Parliament and signed into law by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in March.

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