Oral Statement Zambia – Human Rights Council March 2019

Thank you, Mr. President.  

The Zambian Government In its adoption of the outcomes of the 3rd cycle of the UPR supported a number of recommendations in relation to child marriage. 

The Zambian Government’s National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage 2016 – 2021 aims to reduce it by 40% by 2021, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 5 (achieving gender equality).

Zambia is among the top twenty countries in the world with the highest rate of child marriage, with 17% of girls aged 15-19 married.  42% of Zambian women aged between 20 and 49 report that they were married before age 18.  Teenage pregnancy rates reveal nearly a third of young Zambian women have children.

The negative impact of teenage pregnancy on the mother’s and infant’s health is well documented. The impact on the girl child’s right to education is severe, with only about 50% of teenage mothers resuming their education after giving birth.

We call on the Zambian Government:

To mount active publicity campaigns on the rights of the child to health, education and training and so address family, cultural and peer pressures to marry too early

To encourage traditional leaders in Zambia to revise “coming of age” ceremonies so that marriage is seen as subsequent to the achievement of the child’s goals for education, training and employment

Thank you, Mr. President.