NEW YORK, Saturday, September 6, 2014 – Canada, The Netherlands and the African Union (AU) have commended the Zambian Government for its leadership and commitment to end child, early and forced marriage.
Permanent Representatives of Canada and The Netherlands to the United Nations made the remarks during a General Assembly panel discussion on “Child, Early and Forced Marriage worldwide including the elaboration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda” on Friday chaired by Zambia’s Deputy Permanent Representative Christine Kalamwina.
The Canadian Permanent Representative, Guillermo Rishchynski, said his country has made ending child, early and forced marriage a foreign policy and development priority.
“Together with the core group of countries, Zambia and Canada will once again introduce a resolution at this year’s General Assembly to build on and accelerate international momentum to end child, early and forced marriage,” said Ambassador Rishchynski.
And The Netherlands’ Permanent Representative Karel van Oosterom expressed happiness with Zambia for spearheading the fight against child, early and forced marriage at global level.
Ambassador Oosterom, in remarks he later twitted, said the “Kingdom of The Netherlands partners [with] countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Zambia [and] Mozambique fighting child marriage.”
The Dutch envoy said ending child, early and forced marriage should be an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda.
Ambassador Oosterom said The Netherlands works with UNICEF on ending child marriages in a four-year programme at a cost of Euros 20 million.
African Union Goodwill Ambassador on ending child, early and forced marriage, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, said the Zambian Government was exemplary in withdrawing young girls from marriage, reintegrating them in the community and empowering them.
“We need to continue to document the example of Zambia,” said Ms Gumbonzvanda, who is also Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) World General Secretary.
Chairing the panel discussion, Zambia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Christine Kalamwina, observed that most member states acknowledged the negative impact of child, early and forced marriage on the ability of girls and women to contribute to the development of their societies.
“The on-going discussion on the Post-2015 development agenda will fall short without addressing this problem of child, early and forced marriage,” said Ms Kalamwina, who was accompanied by First Secretary for Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs Silvester Mwanza, at the General Assembly gathering.
The President of Zambia, His Excellency Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, and First Lady, Dr Christine Kaseba have led the campaign to end child, early and forced marriages, and empowerment of girls and women.
Permanent Missions of Zambia and Canada to the UN last year co-sponsored and co-chaired the first-ever resolution on ending child, early and forced marriage, which the General Assembly adopted by consensus.
CHIBAULA D. SILWAMBA (Mr.)
First Secretary for Press and Public Relations
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations