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Child marriages persist in Matobo district

Lack of birth certificates has led to an increase of school drop outs resulting in the rise of child marriages in Matobo district.

In a statement, Habakkuk Trust said access to birth certificates will minimise child marriages since most of the children fail to proceed to secondary level owing to the failure to get the document.

“They said lack of identification documents continues to jeopardise the children’s right to education, forcing them to drop out of school after grade 7 and some, especially girls opting to get married at a young age,” said Habakkuk Trust.

The government should come up with a law that will force parents to seek children documents.

“The children become prey to older men once they stop going to school. There should be laws that will force parents to acquire birth certificates for their children and encourage them to value the right to education so that child marriage can be minimised,” reads part of the statement.

According to Habakkuk Trust lack of identification documents continue to jeopardise the children’s right to education, forcing them to drop out of school after Grade Seven and some, especially girls opting to get married at a young age.

One of the Habakkuk action team members from Ward 5, Nurse Malaba said the culprits of child marriages should be thoroughly punished.

“The perpetrators of child marriages and children below the age of 18 who marry each other should seriously face the wrath of the law,” said Malaba.

“The law should apply to everyone, the parents who allow their children to marry at a young age and adults who marry young girls and even children who impregnate each other. They should all be punished if we are to end child marriages,” she said.

Another Action Team member, from Ward 7 Athaliah Moyo said the issue of parents being forced to acquire birth certificates would be difficult as some girls are impregnated by unknown gold panners.

“Because of economic hardships, some girls are impregnated by people from outside their areas including illegal gold panners and cross border traders resulting in an increase of children without birth certificates,” said Moyo.

The Constitutional Court last year made a landmark judgment that outlawed any unions involving children below 18 years.

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