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Parliament amends child age to 18 years

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Parliament has amended the age of which one qualifies to be a child or a minor to 18 years from16 years.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu, tabled the amendment yesterday afternoon.

Tembenu said raising the age is important not only for compliance with international standards but will give children sufficient protection.

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“Section 23 of Malawi’s Constitution provides comprehensive set of rules that protect persons under the age of 16 leaving minors above the age of 18 exposed to harmful practices since the Constitution does not afford them rights that protect minors,” he said

He also said the previous law was in conflict with Section 14 of Marriage, Divorce and Family Act of 2015.

Members of Parliament (MP) supported the amendment with others calling it an instrument to end child marriages in the country.

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Speaking on behalf of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Member of Parliament for Kasungu Central, Amon Nkhata said raising the age will bring a lot of benefits to the country.

“There is no objection to this amendment because it is also in the interest of the MCP to protect minors and observe African Charter and United Nations (UN) conventions that are aimed at protecting the interest of the child,” he said.

MP for Salima North West, Jessie Kabwila also said the amendment will give coherence not only to the policies but also to the implementation.

“The age of marriage is an issue that Malawians across the country have clearly spoken about. Children are supposed to be given instruments so that they are able to go to school and participate in the development and be treated as leaders of the future,” she said

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