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Garissa: Parents warned against marrying off young girls

Parents in Garissa have been warned against marrying off their under-age girls.

Parents in Garissa have been warned against marrying off their under-age girls.

Deputy county commissioner Samuel Njuguna said they will arrest parents involved in cultural practices that contravene the Constitution.

Speaking at Garissa Primary School during the African Child Celebrations on Friday, Njuguna said marrying off young girls will be severely punished.

“There are several cultural practices that are dragging us behind. One of them is early marriages of young girls. It is a concern to us as a government and we shall fight it,” Njuguna said.

The official said girls should be allowed to pursue their education.

“If they are to be married off, then that should happen when they are mature enough,” he said.

Njuguna said the government will arrest parents who force their girls to undergo Female Genital Mutilation.
He asked chiefs to look out for those violating children’s rights and settling them through ‘Maslah’ – a Somali dispute resolution mechanism. 

Nominated MCA Fatuma Abdi said they have passed a motion for the establishment of a gender-based violence desk at the assembly. She urged women and young girls to report rape, defilement and other forms of violations of their rights.

The desk will work together with children department, referral hospitals and police. “We hope it will help those who shy away from divulging personal information to the authorities,” Fatuma said.

 The desk will be managed by a trained social worker who will report to women MCAs. Fatuma urged women to feel free and talk about violations of their rights.

“The executive has committed to support the initiative by allocating more funds towards the programme,” the MCA said.

County children coordinator Mohamed Hussein said cases of parental neglect, child labour, incest and defilement were on the rise. 

“The biggest challenge is parental neglect. Many parents have failed or intentionally refused to meet their children’s needs,” Hussein said. The celebration was preceded by a procession from the children department through the streets.

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