Erratic Zimbabwe laws expose teen girls to AIDS

Erratic Zimbabwe lawsfrom MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – TEENAGE girls in Zimbabwe face increased risk of unwanted pregnancies and contracting HIV because of inconsistent laws denying them sexual and reproductive rights.

The inconsistencies have prompted human rights groups to advocate for the revision of colonial-era public health laws.

Among these are Article 35 of the Public Health Act Amendment Bill, which is feared could put adolescent girls’ health at further risk.

It implies anyone aged under 18 years will not have legal capacity to consent to receiving health services and information.

Under Zimbabwean law, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16, yet many adolescents are sexually active before this age, according to Amnesty International.

The organisation has raised concern the government’s delay in amending its laws to raise the legal age of marriage to 18, in line with the constitution, led to widespread confusion around the right to access health services.

“As a result, adolescents are often unable to access sexual and reproductive health services and information,” Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s director for Southern Africa, said.

Amnesty International’s concerns came ahead of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care leading a debate on the Public Health Bill this week.

“Zimbabwean lawmakers must use this opportunity to come up with health laws that protect and respect the human rights of all Zimbabweans, regardless of their age or background,” said Mwananyanda said.

In Zimbabwe, 1,2 million people aged under 15 live with HIV.

An estimated 15 percent of the 16 million-population is infected.
– CAJ News

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Posted by on May 10 2018. Filed under Africa & World, Featured, National, Regional. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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