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Sudan removes reservations on AU charter banning child girl marriage

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A World Vision nurse provides the polio vaccination to displaced children residing in the (UNAMID) base in Khor Abeche, South Darfur, on 22 March, 2014. (UN Photo)
November 21, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan on Saturday announced its adoption of all child rights contained in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) including the prohibition of child marriage.

The ACRWC was adopted in 1990 and came into force in 1999. It sets out rights and defines principles for the status of children.

Article 21 (2) of the regional treaty provides that "Child marriage and the betrothal of girls and boys shall be prohibited and effective action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify the minimum age of marriage to be 18 years and make registration of all marriages in an official registry compulsory".

In 2004, the former Sudanese regime made reservations on some of the paragraphs contained in the African Charter on the Rights of the Child including the age of marriage and the right of pregnant girls to education.

"The Council of Ministers agreed, on Thursday, to withdraw previous reservations to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child." read the Cabinet, in a statement extended to the Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

The decision was made based on a memorandum by the National Council for Child Welfare, demanding the lifting of reservations.

The Council stressed that there are no justifications for these reservations after Sudan’s ratification of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The memorandum also pointed to the recent development of national legislation, especially under the rights and freedoms chapter of the transitional constitutional document.

For its part, the Minister of Labour and Social Development, Lina Al-Sheikh, said that the previous reservations "targeted girls as a way of oppression and the failure to recognize their rights."

(ST)

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