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Chakwera hosts Clooney Foundation for Justice, renews commitment to ending child marriages

President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has renewed his government’s commitment to ending child marriages by 2030 and has since applauded the international community for the support it provides to Malawi.

Speaking on Saturday when he hosted a team from Clooney Foundation for Justice at Kamuzu Palace, President Chakwera said he was inspired by the international support that Malawi has with respect to gender justice.

President Chakwera and Ms. Amal Clooney exchanging a document at the Kamuzu Palace
President Chakwera and Ms. Amal Clooney exchanging a document at the Kamuzu Palace

“I wish to take advantage of this occasion to announce the renewal of Malawi’s goal of ending the practice of child marriage by 2030. This may sound like a goal too ambitious, but for the millions of girls in our country, this is already a goal too far away. We simply cannot accept that by the end of this decade, the practice of marrying underage girls should still exist anywhere within our borders with impunity,” he said.

But President Chakwera pointed out that achieving the goal will require concerted efforts from all stakeholders.

“Thankfully, the legal age for marriage in Malawi was already changed by Parliament back when I was a legislator there, and so it is not insignificant that the practice of child marriage is already illegal in Malawi. But the continued practice of child marriage is itself an indication that more needs to be done. As such, my Administration is committed to review all existing laws to ensure that they are harmonized to reflect the constitutional legal age of marriage, and I am charging the Minister of Justice here present to facilitate the tabling of this matter to Parliament during the first sitting of the House in 2024.

“Secondly, I would like the Ministry of Gender and other relevant public institutions present here to ensure that the regional SADC Model Law on Eradicating Child Marriage and Protecting the children that have already been married is incorporated in our National Strategy. Thirdly, I will task the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs with the responsibility of ensuring that the implementation of the National Strategy to end child marriage is adequately funded in all the budgets between now and 2030,” he said.

Meanwhile Chakwera has encouraged all Malawians to ‘keep up the good fight, because if we do not fight for our girls, we surrender the future of our nation, and I will never allow that’.

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