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An example of parliamentary excellence: SADC Parliamentary Forum adopts Model Law on child marriage

3 June 2016

A young girl in Lusaka, Zambia. Photo credits: Bread for the World, Flickr

A young girl in Lusaka, Zambia. Photo credits: Bread for the World, Flickr

Ezulwini, Swaziland – AWEPA is delighted to announce that the South African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum has adopted a new Model Law on Eradicating Child Marriage and Protecting Children Already in Marriage.

In a historical moment for the fight against child marriage, the Model Law was adopted on 3 June 2016 during the 39th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

Developed by the SADC Parliamentary Forum, the Model Law has the potential to shape how the region addresses the issue of child marriage. It will be a powerful tool for countries that are developing, reviewing or harmonising their laws related to the practice and its impact.

AWEPA has been supporting the development and adoption of the Model Law since this process started in 2014. This was done in cooperation with various national parliaments, as well as Plan local offices in the region.

As part of its efforts, AWEPA implemented three parliamentary activities: a regional dialogue on child marriage in Johannesburg in February 2015; a two-day national follow-up workshop on child marriage laws in Zambia in June; and a national workshop on Child Marriage Laws in Mozambique in December 2015. These activities fell within the framework of AWEPA’s child marriage project with Plan Netherlands, funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Model Law is intended to act as a yardstick providing guidance to legislators, policymakers and other stakeholders in SADC Member States as they develop national laws to eradicate child marriages and protect children already in marriage.

The objective is to harmonise the region’s national laws, eradicate loopholes, and ultimately contribute to eradicating child marriage across the entire region within a generation.

 

Find out more about the approval of the Model Law during the 39th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum here.