ZAMBIA has the highest prevalence of early and forced marriages in the world and the Canadian government has injected US$1.7 million in the fight against the scourge, Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba has said.
Mr Kalaba told the Daily Nation from New York that there has been global action against forced and early marriages in Zambia because the scourge was a violation of human rights against girl children.
The Foreign Affairs minister, currently attending the 59th United Nations summit in New York, said the Canadian government had partnered with Zambia to champion the revolution of ending forced and early marriages among the girl child.
He said the Canadian government had been instrumental in ensuring that the acourge of forced and eearly marriages was eradicated in Zambia, adding that he was holding bilateral talks with the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Bird to chart the best way of protecting the rights of girl children.
Mr Kalaba said according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) analysis of 2007, about 42 percent of the girl child in Zambia were either forced into marriage or got into early marriage before the age of 18 years.
Mr Kalaba said following the UNPF analysis report of 2007, Zambia launched a campaign to eradicate forced and early marriages because too many girl children were being denied their rights to education, health and life.
He said this year; Zambia held a symposium at which government ministers, traditional leaders and other stakeholders charted effective ways of dealing with the vice that had been vexing the country for a long time.
“Zambia has had the highest prevalence of early and forced marriages in the world, according to the United Nations Population Fund sub-analysis of 2007. About 42 percent of the girl children are forced into marriage or go into marriage before the age of 18 years. In 2013, following the UNPF sub-analysis, the Canadian government has injected US$1.7 million in the fight against the scourge. Canada has been extremely influential in the revolution of eradicating early and forced marriages,” Mr Kalaba said.