WiLDAF sensitizes Muslims against early marriages

Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) in partnership with CARE Ghana, has organised a day’s seminar to sensitise Muslims, especially Imams, on the need to fight against early and forced marriages among girls.

The theme for the seminar: “Positive Action against Early and Forced Marriages,” is to ensure that children enjoy their rights in the society while fighting against gender based violence meted out on such children.

Mrs. Bernice Sam, Human Rights Advocate and a member of WiLDAF said the rate at which girls are being given out in marriage before the legal age of 18 is a major concern since early marriage has serious implication on the development of the victims.

She said the practice has a severe effect on the economy since most of the girls would be school dropouts thereby not satisfying the Millennium Development Goal three which clearly stipulates that children should be educated to become future leaders.

Mrs. Sam said this would require the country to put in more resources to ensure that they acquire employable skills.

She said it is a huge responsibility for a girl to become a wife and a mother when she is not prepared for such roles.

Mrs. Sam said early marriages take place because of a number of factors including religious beliefs, betrothal, tradition practices and poverty.

She appealed to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to ensure that children, especially girls, complete quality basic education and provide qualified teachers to teach them.

Mrs. Sam said the ministry should link up with the Ministry of Education to enforce the directive to keep pregnant girls in school.

She as well urged parents to be involved in their children’s education and also work with school authorities to promote the quality of education.

Sheikh Alhassan Salman, Chairperson, National Representatives Assembly of ASWAT, said forced marriages are null and void since marriages has to be conducted with the consent of both male and female.

He, therefore, urged Muslims and Christians to know that the act of forced marriages is against Ghana’s culture and the international human rights of every individual.

Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) is a pan-African, non-governmental organisation that brings together individuals and organisations to promote the culture for the exercise and respect for women’s rights in Africa through a variety of tools, including law.

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