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Gambia bans child marriage: 20 year Jail term for offenders


Good news for supporters of the #childnotbride fight.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has announced a ban on child marriage in the predominantly Muslim west African nation, threatening heavy jail terms for those who break the new rules. This ban became official on the 6th of July.

Anyone who marries a girl under 18 years will spend 20 years in jail. The girls’ parents would spend 21 years in jail and anyone who knows about it and fails to report the matter to the authorities would spend 10 years in jail. Also, the Imam and those that preside over the marriage ceremony would also be sent to jail.

Jammeh declared in November that the practice was not required by Islam — the religion of around 95 percent of the country’s 1.8 million population — and that it should be consigned to history. This is a very positive direction that could potentially have huge impacts in countries like Nigeria, where child marriage still occurs. One of the side effects young Nigerian girls who get married suffer is vaginal fistula, which has terrible social implications such as becoming an outcast in society.




Northern Nigeria where child marriage occurs is predominantly Muslim. We hope Nigeria takes a cue from the Gambia and end this terrible practice.

Young girls are meant to be in school and not catering to the sexual needs of an older group of men.



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