It is a new hope for the children of the SADC region, including those of Mauritius. A model law aiming at eradicating child marriage and the protection of those already in marriage has been adopted. It was at the beginning of June during the 39th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum held in Swaziland. Our correspondent reports on the working sessions and brings us the testimony of a woman who went to child marriage.
It is the 3rd of June, 2016. The clock ticks towards 16h at the Royal Swazi Hotel here during the 39th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum. It has been approximately a year and a half since the SADC PF and other partners began developing a SADC Model Law on eradicating child marriage and protecting those already in marriage. The Plenary Assembly Session is the highest decision-making body of SADC PF – the deliberative body that brings together 14 national parliaments of Southern Africa.
After nearly nine hours of intense debate and poring over parts of the draft model law, a bold decision must be made. In attendance are about 190 people. They include Speakers of National parliaments, parliamentarians – including representatives from Mauritius – and traditional leaders – the first time they have attended a SADC Plenary Assembly Session. Also present are observers. Mostly representatives of organizations that collaborate with SADC PF.
Special care has been taken to develop a regional law with so much commonality that it can be easily adapted or adopted as member states enact or refine national laws to eradicate child marriage, which Dr. Esau Chiviya, Secretary General of SADC PF, has branded “an abomination.”