Outrage as 14-year-old wife dies while giving birth at church shrine

Outrage as 14-year-old wife dies while giving birth at church shrine

August 11, 2021 0 By Essence Media

Police are investigating the death of a 14-year-old girl during childbirth.

The girl’s death in Zimbabwe sparked outrage among citizens and rights activists and renewed calls to end child marriages.

Memory Machaya, who was forced to abandon school to get married, died last month at a church shrine in the eastern region of Marange.

The girl’s death on 15 July has exposed the exploitation of minors and called attention to the practice of child marriage within Zimbabwe’s Apostolic Church, which often rejects medicine and hospital treatment.

Her family has said that the baby survived the birth and was doing well, local media report.

The United Nations condemned early marriage while reacting to the girl’s death and urged the government to recognise child marriage as a crime and bring an end to the practice.

The organisation said it “notes with deep concern” and “condemns strongly” reports into the circumstances surrounding the death.

“The current trend of unresolved cases of violence against women and girls in Zimbabwe, including marriages of minors, cannot continue with impunity,” the UN said in a statement on Saturday, August 7.

The circumstances that led to the death and subsequent burial are under investigation by the police and the country’s state gender commission.

An online petition calling for “justice for Memory Machaya” has so far received over 57,000 signatures.