Saturday, 7 May 2016


Marriage before the age of 18 is a fundamental violation of human rights. Yet among women aged 20 to 24 worldwide, one in four were child brides. 

 Many factors interact to place a girl at risk of marriage, including:
  1.  poverty
  2.  the perception that marriage will provide ‘protection’
  3. family honour
  4.  social norms
  5.  customary or religious laws that condone the practice
  6.  an inadequate legislative framework and the state of a country's civil registration system. 

Child marriage often compromises a girl’s development by resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupting her schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement and placing her at increased risk of domestic violence. Child marriage also affects boys, but to a lesser degree than girls. 

Cohabitation – when a couple lives ‘in union’, as if married – raises the same human rights concerns as marriage. When a girl lives with a man and takes on the role of his caregiver, the assumption is often that she has become an adult, even if she has not yet reached the age of 18. Additional concerns due to the informality of the relationship – in terms of inheritance, citizenship and social recognition, for example – may make girls in informal unions vulnerable in different ways than girls who are married.
The issue of child marriage is addressed in a number of international conventions and agreements. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, for example, covers the right to protection from child marriage in article 16, which states: "The betrothal and the marriage of a child shall have no legal effect, and all necessary action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify a minimum age for marriage...." The right to 'free and full' consent to marriage is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says that consent cannot be 'free and full' when one of the parties involved is not sufficiently mature to make an informed decision about a life partner. Although marriage is not mentioned directly in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, child marriage is linked to other rights – such as the right to freedom of expression, the right to protection from all forms of abuse, and the right to be protected from harmful traditional practices – and is frequently addressed by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Other international agreements related to child marriage are the Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.


Across the globe, rates of child marriage are highest in South Asia, where nearly half of all girls marry before age 18; about one in six were married or in union before age 15. This is followed by West and Central Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa, where 42 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively, of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married in childhood.
Worldwide, 1 in 4 women were married before age 18, with the highest rates of child marriage in South Asia
Percentage of women aged 20 to 24 years who were first married or in union before age 15 and after age 15 but before age 18, by region
* Excludes China.
** CEE/CIS: Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Notes: Estimates are based on a subset of 122 countries covering 79 per cent of the global population of women aged 20 to 24 (excluding China, for which comparable data are not available in UNICEF global databases). Regional estimates represent data covering at least 50 per cent of the regional population.
Source: UNICEF global databases, 2015, based on Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and other nationally representative surveys, 2003–2014.  


Globally, one in six adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) are currently married or in union. South Asia has the highest proportion of married adolescents (29 per cent), followed by West and Central Africa (25 per cent) and Eastern and Southern Africa (20 per cent).
Almost 1 in 3 adolescent girls in South Asia are currently married or in union, compared to 1 in 20 in East Asia and the Pacific
Percentage of girls aged 15 to 19 years who are currently married or in union, by region
Note: Estimates are based on a subset of 115 countries covering 84 per cent of the female population aged 15 to 19. Regional estimates represent data from countries covering at least 50 per cent of the regional population.
Source: UNICEF global databases, 2014, based on DHS, MICS and other nationally representative surveys, 2005–2012


Child marriage affects girls in far greater numbers than boys, and with more intensity. However, data on the number of boys affected by child marriage are limited, making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions on its status and progress. Nevertheless, available data confirm that boys are far less likely than girls in the same region to marry before age 18.
In eight countries, more than 10 per cent of boys are married before age 18
Percentage of men aged 20 to 24 years who were first married or in union by age 18, in the eight countries where prevalence rates for child marriage are above 10 per cent
Source: UNICEF global databases, 2014, based on DHS and MICS, 2007–2012.
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A woman who lives at Gongo la mboto, Dar es Salaam was beaten by her husband last week after their daughter of 16 years old was discovered to be pregnant. According to this woman, who chose to remain anonymous due to safety issues, said that her husband has blamed her for what has happened to their daughter, saying that she was not responsible for her.

The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Media Survey of 2012 has recorded a record number of incidences of Gender Based Violence in Tanzania such as Neisisiri Mokoroo (25), who was attacked by her husband with a stick while pregnant and died shortly after. The husband claimed that he was not responsible for her pregnancy accusing her of being unfaithful. Neema Ngoko (17), from Tamuker village in Tarime was brutally beaten by her husband and locked indoors for two weeks despite being pregnant.
Speaking to a daughter who was impregnated, she said that “my mother has nothing to do with this. Besides, she was the one insisting on being careful with men and not allowing them to touch me. But I’m the one to be blamed because I did not put into consideration what my mother was telling me.”
Ally Abdallah Banana, another resident in the area, had this to say, “A woman is the one responsible for taking care of the children and if children misbehave then she is the one to be blamed and being beaten is acceptable so she can learn a lesson.”
According to Anna Jerry Vingunguti, a resident, “caring for children is the duty of all parents and not the mother only, since a child is the product of both parents and if something bad happened to the kid, parents have to cooperate in solving the problem instead of putting all the blame to a woman.”
Manyaki Ntiba, a resident of Kitunda, said “wife beating is the behaviour of most Tanzanian men and for the women? we have just to bear with it, because there is nothing we can do. They are men you can’t compete with.”
On the other hand, Jacob Emmanuel, a Kinondoni resident, represented a different point of view.
“Wife beating is an outdated thing and a man practicing that is a fool. You married your wife so as she can help you in your life and not for you to beat her. She is not a little kid so if she makes a mistake just talk to her, she will understand,” he said.
He also added that there is no woman who would want her child to misbehave, so is not right to beat a woman when a child commits a mistake because she also suffers a lot for the child.
The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania (1977) guarantees equality of all citizens. Therefore, men and women are all supposed to be treated equally.
SMGEO are ready to work on this with all members in the society.


Most women in Tanzania are subject to gender based violence whether they are aware of it or not. The situation has become a major problem in the country as a majority of women have had their rights violated, which has caused them to suffer physically and psychologically.

Ms. Neema Ellison, who has been married for 12 years, said “I have been with my man since he got married to me, he never listens to me and wait for what I need to say to him. He always beats me up and I could never do anything for that simply because he is my husband and I never knew that my rights as women were being violated.”
Neema added that her husband doesn’t allow her to have job, because he wants her to stay at home and take care of the children. When she tried to educate him on this issue, her husband beat her brutally and told her that she is just a woman and he is the head of the family, so she has to listen to him on what he says and wants.
In various societies women have been discriminated by men and others. They don’t have the right to own property and they are often regarded as simply a tool for enjoyment.
Isabella Tarimo, an entrepreneur from Dar es Salaam, said “most men, they just take women for granted and regard them as weak since they cannot react to them and so they take that opportunity to torture them and violate their rights.”
According to the Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Centre 2012 Report, some of the tribes in the country have been practicing widow inheritance and cleansing. This act involves the widow to be taken or inherited by one of the husbands relatives, typically a brother or younger brother of the deceased husband. There are also those who are forced to undergo a sexual act with one of the husband’s relatives on account that they have to be cleansed or purified. The practice of widow cleansing is common in Makete District in Njombe region as well it is prevalent in the Lake Zone regions.
“The practice of widow inheritance and cleansing puts women at risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The Legal Human Rights Centre considers widow inheritance and cleansing as some of the effects of the Law of the Marriage Act due to its silence on bride price. The LHRC suggests that there ought to be some amendments of the Law of the Marriage Act to safeguard personal liberties of widows in the country.
John Stewart, who lives in Dar es Salaam, said that women in Tanzania need more education concerning their rights and that they have to know their rights as women, and know everything that surrounds them, so they know how to stand on their own instead of relying on men so as to avoid the problems which violate their rights as women.