Adolescent girls

Zambia: Rampant rape of schoolgirls by their teachers—victory in R.M.’s civil case

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2009 Dec 1
What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Director of Public Prosecutions calling for the prosecution of Mr. Hakasenke for the rape of R.M. Ask him to ensure that girls have full recourse to the law if they are raped and that perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Remind him of the government’s obligations to protect young girls under Zambia’s own Constitution, the Protocol, and other human rights instruments to which Zambia is a party. Please write to the police Victim Support Unit asking them to expedite Mr. Hakasenke’s arrest. Please also write to the new Minister of Education, asking her to ensure that guidelines and mechanisms are put in place to prevent and better address sexual violence against girls in schools, including by school officials, and that the court-ordered compensation is paid to R.M. as soon as possible. Urge the Minister to cooperate with police to facilitate the arrest of Mr. Hakasenke and, at a minimum, to ensure that he is no longer on the government payroll.

Letters should be addressed to:.

Mr. Chalwe Mchenga
Director of Public Prosecutions
P.O. Box 50106
Lusaka
Republic of Zambia
Tel: +260 211 251 367
Fax: +260 211 257 636

Sample letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions

Mr. Tresford Kasale
Director
Victim Support Unit
Zambia Police Headquarters
Independence Avenue
P.O. Box 50103, Ridgewa
Lusaka 10101
Republic of Zambia
Tel: +260 211 254 534 / 253 543
Fax: +260 211 253 543

Sample letter to the Director of the Victim Support Unit

Hon. Dora Siliya
Minister of Education
P.O. Box 50093
Lusaka
Republic of Zambia
Tel: +260 211 250 558
Fax: +260 211 253 502
dsiliya@moe.gov.zm

Sample letter to the Minister of Education

Women's Action 32.1: February 2009

 

Yemen: End early marriages by enacting and enforcing a minimum age of marriage law

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2010 Apr 1

In the past month, Equality Now has been informed of a number of cases of young Yemeni girls who have undergone or been at risk of early and forced marriage which has left them subject to some of its many harmful consequences. 

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Yemeni President, Minister of Justice and the Speaker of the House asking them to ensure that the early marriage bill is considered and passed by parliament as soon as possible. Call upon them also to ensure effective enforcement of this law, once passed, including through mandatory registration of all marriages and punishment for those in violation. TAKE ACTION!

Letters should be addressed to:

Mr. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
President of the Republic of Yemen
President Residence
60 Street
Sana’a, Yemen
Fax: +967 1 274 147

Mr. Ghazi Al Ghabari
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Justice Street
Sana’a, Yemen
Fax: +967 1 252 138
Tel: +967 1 252 136/7/9

Mr. Yahya Ali Al Raei
Speaker of the House
Yemeni Parliament
26 September Street
Sana’a, Yemen
Fax: +967 1 276 091
Email: info@yemenparliament.org

Sample letter

Yemen: End early marriages through enactment of law enforcing a minimum age of marriage

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2009 Nov 1

On 11 September 2009, Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, a 12-year-old Yemeni girl married to a 25-year-old, farmer died in childbirth after 3 days of painful labor resulting in a stillbirth at al-Zahra district hospital in Hodeida province in Yemen. The previous year, Fawziya’s father had pulled her out of school and married her at the age of 11.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Yemeni President, Minister of Justice and the Speaker of the House asking them to ensure the swift passage of a law which provides for a minimum age of marriage of 18 years with appropriate penalties for violation of this law. Call upon them also to ensure effective enforcement of this law, once passed, including through mandatory registration of all marriages. Please also write to the Minister of Public Health and Population and urge him to ensure that the Ministry of Health endorses 18 years as the minimum age of marriage in accordance with Yemen’s obligations under international law. Letters should go to:

General Ali Abdullah Saleh
President of the Republic of Yemen
President Residence
60 Street
Sana’a, Yemen
Fax: +967 1 274 147

Mr. Ghazi Al Ghabari
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice Justice Street
Sana’a, Yemen
Fax: +967 1 252 138
Tel: +967 1 252 136/7/9

Mr. Yahya Ali Al Raei
Speaker of the House
Yemeni Parliament
26 September Street
Sana’a, Yemen
Fax: +967 1 276 091
Email: info@yemenparliament.org

Prof. Dr. Abdul Karim Yehia Rasa
Minister of Public Health and Population
Ministry of Public Health and Population
El Hisbah Directorate
Sana’a, Yemen
Tel:- +967 1 252 241
Fax: +967 1 252 247
Email: akrasae@yahoo.com

 

Letters: 

Sample Letter President/Minister of Justice/Speaker of the House:

[Date]

[Dear President/Minister of Justice/Speaker of the House],

I am writing to express my deep concern about the issue of early marriage in Yemen following the death of Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, a 12 year old girl who was pulled out of school in 2008 and married to an older man when she was 11 years old. After 3 days of painful labor she died in childbirth and her baby was stillborn. In another case, a 14 year old girl called Asghan was married when she was 12 years old and has twice run back to her family from her husband’s house. Her father threatened to kill her and divorce her mother in order to put pressure on Asghan to return to her husband and Asghan was only given a reprieve to stay with her family till she is 17 years old after the intervention of the Taiz governorate. Girls such as these and many others need the help of the government so they can continue to enjoy their childhoods. I understand that up to 50% of all Yemeni girls are married before the age of eighteen.

International organizations such as World Health Organization, UNICEF and UNFPA have underscored the negative physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual and sexual implications of child marriage on girls, including death due to early pregnancy and deprivation of education. I urge you to take urgent action to ensure that Yemen passes a law setting 18 years as a minimum age of marriage in line with Yemen’s international commitments, and to ensure effective enforcement of this law, including by requiring that all marriages are registered and prosecuting and punishing all those who violate the law.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

_________________________

 

Sample Letter Minister of Public Health and Population:

Prof. Dr. Abdul Karim Yehia Rasae
Minister of Public Health and Population
Ministry of Public Health and Population
El Hisbah Directorate
Sana’a, Yemen
Fax: +967 1 252 247
akrasae@yahoo.com

Dear Minister,

I am writing to express my deep concern about the issue of early marriage in Yemen following the death of Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, a 12 year old who was pulled out of school last year and married to an older man when she was 11 years old. After 3 days of painful labor she died in childbirth and her baby was stillborn. I understand that up to 50% of all Yemeni girls are married before the age of eighteen.

UNICEF and UNFPA have underscored the negative physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual and sexual implications of child marriage on children and pointed out that it is a violation of their human rights. Early pregnancy is a leading cause of death among girls. Early marriage also deprives a girl of education and severely jeopardizes her right to mental, emotional and physical well-being. According to the World Health Organization and UNFPA, early marriage can lead to numerous negative medical outcomes for both mother and child, such as low birth weight, preterm labor, stillbirths, perinatal deaths, pregnancy-induced hypertension, puerperal sepsis, septic abortion and obstetric fistula, and a resulting high rate of maternal and child mortality.

It has come to my attention that Parliament has asked your ministry for advice on establishing a minimum age of marriage. I urge you to follow internationally recognized standards, including those in instruments ratified by Yemen, and recommend 18 years as the minimum age for marriage in Yemen.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

 

Zambia: Rampant Rape of Schoolgirls by Their Teachers

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2009 Feb 1

 

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Director of Public Prosecutions listed below calling for criminal charges to be lodged against Edson Hakasenke for the rape of R.M. Please write to the Attorney-General and ask him to withdraw the notice of appeal against the decision of the High Court to hold the government vicariously liable for the conduct of Mr. Hakasenke. Send a copy of both your letters to the Minister of Justice. Remind them of the government’s obligations to protect young girls under Zambia’s own Constitution, the Protocol, and other human rights instruments to which Zambia is a party. Request the Minister of Education to take serious note of Judge Musonda’s call to put effective mechanisms in place to address sexual violence against girls within the school system, in order to ensure that in future girls are properly protected against rape by school officials and that they know where to turn if they have been raped. Ask all officials to ensure that girls have full recourse to the law if they are raped and that perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Letters should be addressed to:

Hon. Mumba Malila
Attorney-General
P.O. Box 50106
Lusaka
Republic of Zambia
Tel: +260 211 250 438
Fax: +260 211 253 695

Mr. Chalwe Mchenga
Director of Public Prosecutions
P.O. Box 50106
Lusaka
Republic of Zambia
Tel: +260 211 251 367
Fax: +260 211 257 636

The Honorable Dora Siliya
Minister of Education
Ministry of Education Headquarters
P.O. Box 50093
Lusaka
Republic of Zambia
Tel: +260 211 250 558
Fax: +260 211 253 502

Hon. George Kunda S.C.
Minister of Justice & Legal Affairs
P.O. Box 50106
Lusaka
Republic of Zambia
Tel: +260 211 251 588/253 509
Fax: +260 211 253 452

Letters: 
Sample Letter to Attorney General Malila

Hon. Mumba Malila
Attorney-General
P.O. Box 50106
Lusaka, Republic of Zambia
Fax: +260 211 253 695

Dear Attorney-General Malila,

I am writing in regard to the important decision of Judge Phillip Musonda of the High Court of Lusaka of 30 June 2008 in the case of R.M., a 13 year-old schoolgirl, against her teacher and rapist Edward Hakasenke, Woodlands ‘A’ Basic School where R.M. was a student, the Ministry of Education and the Attorney General.

I urge you to withdraw your notice of appeal in this case to demonstrate the government’s commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of women and girls in accordance with Zambia’s own Constitution and the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women, as well as other human rights instruments to which Zambia is a party. I would also urge you to ensure that girls have full recourse to the law if they are raped and that perpetrators are always prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

 

CC: Hon. George Kunda S.C.
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs
P.O. Box 50106, Lusaka, Republic of Zambia
Fax: +260 211 253 452
 

 

Sample letter to Mr. Mchenga

Mr. Chalwe Mchenga
Director of Public Prosecutions
P.O. Box 50106
Lusaka, Republic of Zambia
Fax: +260 211 257 636

Dear Mr. Mchenga,

I am writing in regard to the important decision of Judge Phillip Musonda of the High Court of Lusaka of 30 June 2008 in the case of R.M., a 13 year-old schoolgirl, against her teacher and rapist Edward Hakasenke, Woodlands ‘A’ Basic School where R.M. was a student, the Ministry of Education and the Attorney General.

In his decision, Judge Musonda referred the matter to you for possible prosecution. Without full protection of the law, girls in school and elsewhere remain at risk of rape and sexual assault and I urge you to take immediate action to hold Mr. Hakasenke responsible for the rape of R.M. to the full extent of Zambian law. I would also urge you to ensure that girls generally have full recourse to the law if they are raped and that perpetrators are always prosecuted to the full extent of the law so that all citizens, including children, benefit from the protections of Zambia’s Constitution, the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women, and all other human rights instruments to which Zambia is a party.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

 

CC: Hon. George Kunda S.C.
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs
P.O. Box 50106, Lusaka, Republic of Zambia
Fax: +260 211 253 452
 

Sample letter to Minister Siliya

The Honorable Dora Siliya
Minister of Education
Ministry of Education Headquarters
P.O. Box 50093
Lusaka, Republic of Zambia
Fax: +260 211 253 502

Dear Minister Siliya,

I am writing in regard to the important decision of Judge Phillip Musonda of the High Court of Lusaka of 30 June 2008 in the case of R.M., a 13 year-old schoolgirl, against her teacher and rapist Edward Hakasenke, Woodlands ‘A’ Basic School where R.M. was a student, the Ministry of Education and the Attorney General. I urge you to act on Judge Musonda’s strong recommendation that the Ministry of Education put effective mechanisms in place to address sexual violence against girls within the school system, in order to ensure that in future girls are properly protected against rape by school officials and that they know where to turn to if they have been raped.

I would also urge you to work with your colleagues in government to ensure that schoolgirls have full recourse to the law if they are raped and that perpetrators are always prosecuted to the full extent of the law so that all citizens, including children, benefit from the protections of the Zambian Constitution and the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa, as well as other international instruments to which Zambia is a party.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

 

CC: Hon. George Kunda S.C.
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs
P.O. Box 50106, Lusaka, Republic of Zambia
Fax: +260 211 253 452
 

Slavery in Ghana: The Trokosi Tradition

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2002 May 1

Abla KotorAccording to the trokosi tradition practiced in southeastern Ghana, virgin girls are given to village priests as a way of appeasing the gods for crimes committed by family members. The word trokosi in the Ewe language means "slaves of the gods." Once given to the priest, a girl becomes his property and is made to carry out domestic chores such as cooking and washing, as well as farming and fetching water.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the officials listed below. Express your concern that thousands of trokosi are reportedly still held in shrines in spite of the 1998 law that prohibits the practice. Call on the government to take immediate steps to ensure that all trokosi are immediately released, and to make provision for their financial support, education, return to their families and re-integration into their communities. Urge the government to issue immediate instructions to police nationwide to enforce the law, and initiate legal prosecutions against shrines that have been holding trokosi in violation of the 1998 law.

His Excellency the President
Mr. J.A. Kufour
Office of the President
State House
Accra, GHANA
Fax: +233 21 676934

The Minister for Justice & Attorney General
Hon. Nana Akuffo Addo
Ministry of Justice & Attorney General's Dept.
P.O. Box M 60, Ministries
Accra, GHANA
Fax: +233 21 667609

Please also write to the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell expressing concern over the apparent misrepresentation by the United States Government of the trokosi practice to the detriment of those working to end it. Ask him to take immediate action to correct this misrepresentation and to reaffirm that the trokosi practice is a severe human rights violation. Letters should be addressed to:

Secretary of State Colin Powell
US Department of State
Washington DC 20520, USA
Fax: +1 202 261 8577

Ghana: Legislation Enacted to Criminalize the Trokosi Tradition of Enslavement

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1999 Jan 1

On 12 June 1998, the Ghanaian Parliament passed an amendment to the Criminal Code, adding Section 314A which criminalizes customary or ritual enslavement of any kind. The new law, which was signed by the President in September 1998, provides:

(1) Whoever

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President of Ghana, thanking him for his support of legislation to criminalize the trokosi practice. Urge him to take steps to ensure that the legislation is brought to the attention of local communities and that it accomplishes its purpose of ending the trokosi tradition. Please also request his intervention on behalf of Abla Kotor, to facilitate the efforts of International Needs for her liberation from the Awlo-Korti shrine. Letters should be sent to:

His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings
President of the Republic of Ghana
The Castle-Osu
Accra
GHANA

Slavery in Ghana: The Trokosi Tradition

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1998 Mar 1

Abla KotorAbla Kotor is 13 years old. At the age of 12, she was given to a local priest in atonement for the rape that resulted in her birth, the rape of her mother by her mother's uncle. As soon as Abla Kotor has completed three menstrual cycles, she too will almost certainly be raped, by the priest to whom she was given. Meanwhile, she works his fields and farmlands, cleans his home and cooks his meals.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the following Parliamentary officials in Ghana. Urge them to pass the legislation which has been introduced to criminalize the trokosi tradition and to take immediate action to ensure the release of all trokosi in Ghana and the protection of girls in the future from this tradition. Note that Ghana is a party to many international treaties which prohibit slavery in all forms, and that the Constitution of Ghana also prohibits slavery and forced labor. Letters should be sent to:

Chairperson of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Select
Committee
Parliament House
Accra, Ghana

The Clerk of Parliament
Parliament House
Accra, Ghana

Chairperson of the Women's Caucus
Parliament of Ghana
Accra, Ghana

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