Girls have rights too

“THE practice of marrying, or marrying off of girl children is not an article of faith of Marange Apostolic Church of At Johanne in all its forms or any of the independent African apostolic churches and being at variance with the law, is a void practice that may not be continued in the name of religion.”

This is part of the order being sought by Sharon Moffat, a Masvingo resident, Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) and Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) in a case in which they want the apostolic church to publicly denounce child marriages.

Alternatively, they want an order declaring that “marrying, or giving in marriage of minor children is not an essential component of the faith of the Marange Apostolic Church of At Johanne or any of the independent African apostolic churches that fall under the Apostolic Churches Council.”

Child marriages, many of them fuelled by religious doctrine, are denying thousands of girls the chance to enjoy their constitutional rights.

Many of them end up enduring gender-based violence that undermines their health, growth, dignity, security and development.

Higher rates of school dropouts and unintended pregnancies due to sexual abuse and health complications have also been reported.

The Know Your Rights series below outlines some of the rights that girls should enjoy but are routinely violated in the name of religion.

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