ICC Note: The Tanzanian High Court has passed landmark legislation outlawing the marriage of girls below the age of 18. However, there is fear that this ruling will have little to no effect on the pervasive practice, since parents may very well continue to marry off their daughters motivated by inheriting a handsome bride price, thereby perpetuating the problem. While this legislation is a step in the right direction, it will likely not solve the problem entirely. It is reported that almost 2 in 5 Tanzanian girls are married before they reach age 18. Child marriage is a common form of persecution in the Muslim world and into Africa; radical Muslims commonly abduct women and girls, often Christians, and force them into marriages where they must also convert to Islam.
07/13/2016, Tanzania (AllAfrica) – A landmark court ruling raising the legal age of marriage for girls in Tanzania to 18 will have little impact in ending child marriage if parents continue to marry off their daughters for bride price rather than educating them, campaigners said.
Tanzania’s High Court ruled last Friday that two sections of the 1971 Marriage Act that allow girls to marry at 15 with parental consent and 14 with the permission of a court, were unconstitutional.
The move came barely a week after the East African country, which has one of the highest rates of child marriage globally, made it an offence for people to marry primary and secondary-school age girls punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
“This ruling is a headway toward solving the problem, but it cannot by itself be the solution to child marriages,” said Hellen-Kijo Bisimba, a women’s rights campaigners and lawyer with the Legal and Human Rights Centre.