Sioka condemns child marriages

12 Nov 2015 12:00pm
OKATYALI, 12 NOV (NAMPA) – The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka has appealed to traditional and religious leaders and the rest of the community to refer people and families with relationship problems to the relevant support services.
Sioka issued the appeal in a statement read on her behalf during the official opening of the Gender Equality and Child Welfare Office for the Okatyali Constituency in the Oshana Region on Tuesday.
The Gender Equality and Child Welfare Minister said individuals and families with relationship difficulties should consult psychologists, pastors and other church leaders as well as the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) for assistance.
“Let me stress that as a country we have observed an increasing number of cases of violence and specifically gender-based violence (GBV) activities in our country,” Sioka stated.
She at the same time suggested that traditional leaders eliminate cultural practices that are encouraging GBV and marrying off children while they are young.
“We must not look at the signs of gender-based violence and keep quiet. We must act when we spot such signs so that we stop gender-based violence.”
Sioka pointed out that the practice of marrying off young children is, among others, violating the girl-child’s rights.
She encouraged traditional leaders to maintain and strengthen practices that are positive and progressive and not violating human rights and dignity.
Officials of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare at Okatyali have been operating from a one-room building donated by the Oshana regional council for the past 10 years.