Tutu arrives to fight early marriages

SOUTH African icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu yesterday arrived in the country for a four-day visit in support of efforts to end child marriages.

And Zambia is among the top 20 countries with the highest rate of child marriages in the world, says Mabel van Oranje, chairperson of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.

Archbishop Tutu has described the prevalence of early marriages as a scourge which needed deep uprooting.

The archbishop is accompanied by Ms Oranje.

The duo is in the country to meet leaders and various groups and organisations including the government, the church, traditional leaders and organisations engaged in community service.

Archbishop Tutu said he would use the tactics they used in fighting apartheid against child marriages.

“I would approach this whole question of child marriages with the same passion and vigor as I did in the fight against apartheid.

“In fact this campaign should be looked at as a scourge that is fostering on poverty,” Archbishop Tutu said.

Over 42 percent of girls are married off before the age of 18 the world over.

The archbishop is a co-founder of the Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of more than 400 civil society organisations from over 60 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.

Members of Girls Not Brides are united by a commitment to work in partnership to end child marriage and enable girls to fulfill their potential.