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First Lady urges world leaders to fight child marriages

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First Lady Monica Chakwera has urged world leaders to fight and eliminate child marriages.

Chakwera said this Thursday during a virtual United Nations General Assembly (Unga) side event on ending child marriages.

The 76th Unga summit is underway through virtual platforms.

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“The whole world needs to understand that the aspirations of the year 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals will not be fulfilled if early child marriages and other harmful practices continue to be barriers to the achievement of gender equality and children’s empowerment,” she said.

Chakwera, who was a keynote speaker, said leaders must walk the talk when it comes to investing in children’s rights and ensuring that their priorities and needs are central to national strategies and budgetary frameworks.

United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Director of Child Protection Cornelius Williams said Unicef would work with governments to find lasting solutions to the problem of child marriage.

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“The [Covid] pandemic has reversed the progress made in fighting child marriages. There is a need to invest in prevention, protection and care and a need for laws that respond to the issue of child marriage and gender equality,” Williams said.

Williams said Unicef had empowered 13 million girls globally since 2016.

World Vision Malawi National Director Francis Dube said the side event was organised with a focus on ending violence against children and child marriages.

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