Sierra Leon bans child marriages

Sierra Leon bans child marriages

Sierra Leon has banned the marriage of children under the age of eighteen. The bill was signed into law by President Julius Maada Bio on the 2nd of July.

“I am deeply grateful for the overwhelming support demonstrated by my esteemed colleagues the First Ladies of Africa, during the launch of the #WeAreEqual campaign this afternoon. The event garnered significant attention from fellow First Ladies, development partners, government and non-government officials, civil society organizations, and the international community.” wrote the First Lady of the Republic Of Sierra Leone, H. E. Fatima Maada Bio in support.

Screenshot-2024-07-03-at-9.00.53 AM-833x1024 Sierra Leon bans child marriages
President Julius Maada Bio Signing the Prohibiting Child Marriage Bill into law.

One third of girls from the West African nation are reported to be married off before they turn eighteen which increases their likelihood of death due to child birth and also economically disadvantaging them as they often stop their schooling journey.

“I have always believed that the future of Sierra Leone is female. This and future generations of girls must thrive in Sierra Leone in which they’re protected, equal, and empowered.” President Julius Maada Bio wrote

The practice is the reason for the nation’s high level of maternal deaths, according to the nation’s health ministry.

“I extend my heartfelt appreciation to my beloved husband, the He-for-She President President Bio for his unwavering commitment to gender equality as evidenced by his signing in to law of the prohibitions of early child marriage Act and his continuous backing of my crucial causes that will change the narrative in our country.” she added

The new law targets men who marry girls aged younger than eighteen with a prison sentence of close to fifteen years and a fine of $4000. Parents who also have their daughters married off are also liable to the crime. UNICEF reports that West Africa has the highest rate of child brides with a total of about sixty million girls.

Kudzai Mhangwa

Kudzai Mhangwa is a writer, actor and musician. He writes poetry, plays, essays and short stories. His work has been featured on House of Mutapa, Atrebla Magazine, Ka'edi Africa, Poetry Soup and elsewhere.

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