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Zambia

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
6%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
31%

* Références

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.

Photo credit: Girls Not Brides

Taux de mariages d'enfants
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 15 ans
6%
UNICEF 2017 % mariées avant l’âge de 18 ans
31%

* Références

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

31% of Zambian girls are married before their 18th birthday and 6% are married before the age of 15.

Rates of child marriage vary from one region to another and are highest in the Eastern and Northern provinces, where the median age of first marriage among 20-49 year old women was 17.5.

According to Zambia’s Demographic and Health Surveys, child marriage rates have declined from 42% in 2002 to 31% in 2014.

A 2017 World Bank study estimates that ending child marriage in Zambia could result in USD68.2 million gains in productivity.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Zambia, child marriage is also driven by:

  • Poverty: Child marriage is sometimes used as a way of reducing the perceived financial burden a girl places on her family and to receive money through the payment of dowry (lobola). Some girls see marriage as a way of escaping challenging economic circumstances and responding to their own basic needs.
  • Adolescent pregnancy: 29% of girls aged 15-19 have ever been pregnant in Zambia, and child marriage is sometimes seen as a coping mechanism to deal with attached social stigma. Whilst in some communities, such as Katete and Mufulira, families are starting to encourage damage payments from the father, marriage is still the cheaper option.
  • Vulnerability of orphans and step-children: When orphans reach puberty, some families think their duty of care has been met and marry them off. Orphans and step-children are reportedly widely mistreated, and marriage is sometimes seen as an escape from intolerable living situations.
  • Gender norms: Marriage is sometimes used to control what is perceived to be inappropriate behaviour among girls, such as having multiple sexual partners and staying out late and frequenting bars. It is also used to protect girls from HIV and pregnancy.

What has this country committed to?

Zambia has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Zambia has been one of the earliest countries that have championed efforts to tackle child marriage. Zambia co-sponsored the 2017 Human Rights Council resolution recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts, and the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution to end child, early and forced marriage, recognising that it is a violation of human rights.

Zambia co-sponsored the 2013, 2014 and 2016 UN General Assembly resolutions on child, early and forced marriage, and co-sponsored the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage. In 2014, Zambia signed a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for a resolution on child marriage.

Zambia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1985, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

Zambia is a focus country of the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, a multi-donor, multi-stakeholder programme working across 12 countries over four years.

Zambia has been a leader of efforts to end child marriage the African Union level. In November 2015, it co-hosted the first ever African Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage and in 2016 it hosted a review meeting of the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa.

In 1992 Zambia signed, but has not yet ratified, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, including Article 21 regarding the prohibition of child marriage.

In 2006 Zambia ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, including Article 6 which sets the minimum age for marriage as 18.

Zambia is one of 20 countries which has committed to ending child marriage by the end of 2020 under the Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa.

During its 2018 Universal Periodic Review, Zambia supported recommendations to take all necessary measures to accelerate implementation of the Marriage Bill (2015) and to end child marriage.

In 2016 the UN Child Rights Committee raised concerns about the extent of child marriage in Zambia. It recommended that the government disseminate the Marriage Act widely at the local level and raise awareness on the harmful consequences of child marriage among parents, teachers and community leaders.

At the Girl Summit in July 2014, the government signed a charter committing to end child marriage by 2020.

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

In March 2016, the government adopted a National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage in Zambia (2016-2021) with the aim of reducing child marriage by 40% by 2021. The Ministry of Gender is responsible for launching and implementing the accompanying action plan.

Zambia’s seventh National Development Plan (2017-2021) includes child marriage related interventions and has helped to institutionalise efforts to address child marriage across ministries and budgets.

In 2013 the government launched a nation-wide campaign to end child marriage. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (MOCTA), the campaign prioritised engagement with traditional leaders and law reform. The UN and World Vision have been active in supporting this.

In 2014 the MOCTA, in collaboration with the Graca Machel Trust, held a National Symposium on Child Marriage.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Marriage Act 1964 the minimum legal age of marriage is 21 years. However under Articles 17 & 33, a person aged 16-21 may marry with parental consent. A person aged under 16 can be married with judicial consent assuming the particular circumstances of the case are not contrary to public interest.

Source

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [website], 2018, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification (accessed February 2018)

African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [website], 2018, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ (accessed February 2018)

African Union, Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa: Call to Action, 2013,
https://au.int/sites/default/files/pages/32905-file-campaign_to_end_child_marriage_in_africa_call_for_action-_english.pdf (accessed February 2018)

Central Statistical Office, Zambia Ministry of Health and ICF International, Demographic and Health Survey 2013-14, 2014, https://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR304/FR304.pdf (accessed April 2018)

Girl Summit 2014, The Girl Summit Charter on Ending FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, [website], 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/459236/Public_Girl_Summit_Charter_with_Signatories.pdf (accessed February 2018)

Ministerial Commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern African, [website], 2014, http://youngpeopletoday.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ESA-Commitment-FINAL-Affirmed-on-7th-December.pdf (accessed February 2018)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Joint statement on child, early and forced marriage, HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, [website], 2014,
http://fngeneve.um.dk/en/aboutus/statements/newsdisplaypage/?newsid=6371ad93-8fb0-4c35-b186-820fa996d379 (accessed April 2018)

Ministry of Gender, National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage in Zambia (2016-2021), 2016, http://www.mgcd.gov.zm/images/publications/Zambia%20National%20Strategy%20on%20Ending%20Child%20Marriage.pdf (accessed April 2018)

Population Council, Adolescent pregnancy in Zambia, 2017,
https://www.popcouncil.org/uploads/pdfs/2017RH_AdolPregnancyZambia_brief.pdf (accessed April 2018)

Population Council, UNFPA, and Government of the Republic of Zambia, Child Marriage in Zambia, 2017, http://www.popcouncil.org/uploads/pdfs/2017RH_ChildMarriageZambia_brief.pdf (accessed April 2018)

Republic of Zambia, Seventh National Development Plan 2017-2021, 2017, http://www.pmrczambia.com/seventh-national-development-plan-2017-2021-7ndp/ (accessed April 2018)

UNICEF, Qualitative study of child marriage
in six districts of Zambia, 2015, https://www.unicef.org/zambia/Qualitative_study_of_child_marriage_in_six_districts_of_Zambia.pdf (accessed April 2018)

UNICEF-UNFPA, Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, 2017, https://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_92681.html (accessed February 2018)

UN CEDAW, Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Zambia, 2011,
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW/C/ZMB/CO/5-6&Lang=En (accessed April 2018)

UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined second to fourth periodic reports of Zambia, 2016, p.9, http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC/C/ZMB/CO/2-4&Lang=En (accessed April 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Zambia, 2018, p.15, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/ZMindex.aspx (accessed April 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5 (accessed February 2018)

World Bank, Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: Work, Earnings and Household Welfare Brief, 2017, http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/312761498512784050/pdf/116835-BRI-P151842-PUBLIC-EICM-Brief-WorkEarningsHousehold-PrintReady.pdf (accessed April 2018)

World Vision, A Situation Report on Child Marriages in Zambia, 2015,
https://www.wvi.org/zambia/article/situation-report-child-marriages-zambia (accessed April 2018)

Fait référence au pourcentage de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans qui ont été mariées ou en concubinage avant le l’âge de 15 ou 18 ans.