Africa, Development, Gender, Human Rights, Poverty & MDGs:
Time to Let Sudanís Girls be Girls, Not Brides

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KHARTOUM - Lawyers and rights activists are calling for a change in Sudanís 1991 Personal Status Law of Muslims, which denies women equal rights.
The personal status law sets no age limit for marriage and in fact states that a 10-year-old girl can be married with the permission of a judge. Amel Al-Zein, a lawyer who has researched the issue of child marriage, says Sudanese law does not allow women to go to court to get a divorce or undertake any legal procedures before the age of 18, which contradicts the fact that girls as young as 10 are married.

The U.N. Childrenís Fund (UNICEF) estimates that a third of Sudanese women now aged 20 to 24 were married before the age of 18. In rural areas, child marriage is as high as 39 per cent as opposed to 22 per cent in urban areas.

The country is yet to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, an international bill for the rights of women. (END//2013)

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