Update On Saving Child Brides In Kenya

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ACLJ.org

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August 6, 2015

Our international affiliate in Africa, the East African Centre for Law & Justice (EACLJ), just announced a positive development in their ongoing efforts to rescue young girls from sex slavery as child brides . On July 24th, the EACLJ asked to join an ongoing case at the Nakuru High Court in which the prosecution is prosecuting a 54-year-old man who married a 14-year-old girl. This highly educated member of Kenyan society (who holds a Ph.D.) intentionally entered into a marriage with a child bride – a form of sexual abuse. The EACLJ’s involvement as amicus curiae (friend of the court) is crucial to ensure that the court creates a positive precedence for future cases being tried throughout the region. At an urgent hearing on July 28th, the lawyers for the older man opposed the EACLJ’s application knowing that the EACLJ stands against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early child marriage. They argued that the matter concerned private persons and the public interest was well-defended by the Director of Public Prosecution and Attorney General advocates. The EACLJ argued articulately and convincingly that their role was crucial to protect the work of human rights organizations and churches who seek to protect Kenya’s most innocent. Furthermore, the EACLJ argued that the final judgment in the case will set a precedent for courts in the region and would greatly affect the ability of many entities to protect young children from FGM and child marriages, both unlawful activities in Kenya. The court agreed with the EACLJ’s arguments and granted the EACLJ leave to join as amicus curiae. The matter is coming up for a hearing on October 13th, 2015. As Amicus Curiae, the EACLJ will use its expertise in local Kenyan law as well as its knowledge of Kenya’s obligations under international treaties and human rights law to advocate for the prosecution of the perpetrators of forced child marriages and female genital mutilations. We are thankful for the work and dedication of the EACLJ as they fight to protect the human rights of all global citizens - no matter how young or insignificant others may deem them to be.