Minister of Information, Communication, Technology and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati has warned that all perpetrators of early child marriages and all forms of domestic violence against women will face stiff punishment.
She made the remarks during a marriage, divorce and family relations sensitization meeting which took place at Ekwendeni in Mzimba North East on Wednesday.
In February 2015 Parliament passed Marriage, Divorce and Family relations bill which was locally and internationally acclaimed as a milestone in protecting girls’ and women’s rights.
The law ensures that girls and women are protected from any form of abuse and that they are equally entitled to property.
“The law has to take its course and those who violate it will have to face punishment,” Kaliati said.
Over the years women and girls have had no equal share of property, land for example. And Kaliati further said this law ensures that women and girls are entitled to property ownership and inheritance.
She said girls below 18 years have been victims of early child marriages and school drop- out and therefore urged parents and guardians to send back their girl-child back to school after delivery and report anyone violating the law.
“For a girl child marrying below the age of 18 is illegal in this country. Parents have the authority to object or report any incident of early child marriages,” she emphasized.
The Information Minister was in the north to grace the switching off analogue television broadcasting in Mzuzu on Tuesday and also attended the marriage, divorce and family relations sensitization meeting that brought together people from various sectors such as faith leaders, traditional leaders, school teachers and parents.
Speaking in an interview, Mzimba North East Parliamentarian Olipa Muyawa commended government for the sensitization campaign aimed at civic educating communities on provision of the bill.
She said through the campaign her constituents got vital information which will assist people to guard against abuse of women and girls’ rights.
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