By XAVIER MANCHISHI?-
THE African Union (AU), Canada and the Netherlands have commended the Zambian Government for its leadership and commitment to end child, early and forced marriages.
AU Goodwill Ambassador on ending child, early and forced marriages, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda said Zambia was exemplary in withdrawing young girls from early marriages, reintegrating them in the community and empowering them.
‘‘We need to continue to document the example of Zambia,’’ said Ms Gumbonzvanda, who is also Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) world general secretary.
Ms Gumbonzvanda said this during a General Assembly panel discussion on ‘Child, Early and Forced Marriage worldwide, including the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda’ on Friday chaired by Zambia’s Deputy Permanent r
epresentative to the United Nations (UN) Christine Kalamwina.
The Canadian permanent representative to the UN, Guillermo Rishchynski said his country had made ending child, early and forced marriages a foreign policy and development priority.
‘‘Together with the core group of countries, Zambia and Canada will once again introduce a resolution at this year’s General Assembly to build on and accelerate international momentum to end child, early and forced marriages,’’ said Ambassador Rishchynski.
The Netherlands’ Permanent Representative Karel van Oosterom expressed happiness with Zambia for spearheading the fight against child, early and forced marriages at global level.
Mr Oosterom, in remarks he later twitted, said the ‘‘Kingdom of The Netherlands partners (with) countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Zambia (and) Mozambique who have been fighting child marriage.’’
According to a statement released by First Secretary for Press and Public Relations at the Zambian Permanent Mission to the UN Chibaula Silwamba, the Dutch envoy said ending child, early and forced marriages should be an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda.
Mr Oosterom said The Netherlands worked with UNICEF on ending child marriages in a four-year programme at a cost of euros 20 million.
Chairing the panel discussion, Ms Kalamwina said that most member states acknowledged the negative impact of child, early and forced marriages on the ability of girls and women to contribute to the development of their societies.
‘‘The ongoing discussion on the post-2015 development agenda will fall short without addressing this problem of child, early and forced marriages,’’ said Ms Kalamwina, who was accompanied by First Secretary for Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs Sylvester Mwanza, at the General Assembly gathering.
President Michael Sata and First Lady Christine Kaseba have led the campaign to end child, early and forced marriages, and empowerment of girls and women.
Permanent Missions of Zambia and Canada to the UN last year co-sponsored and co-chaired the first-ever resolution on ending child, early and forced marriages, which the General Assembly adopted by consensus.