THE United Nations in Zimbabwe notes with deep concern and condemns strongly the surrounding circumstances leading to the untimely death of 14-year-old Memory Machaya from Marange, who died while giving birth at an apostolic sect shrine.
Sadly, disturbing reports of the sexual violation of under-aged girls, including early forced child marriages continue to surface and indeed this is another sad case. A situation where one out of three girls in Zimbabwe will be married before the age of 18 years is also not acceptable.
The current trend of unresolved cases of violence against women and girls in Zimbabwe, including marriages of minors cannot continue with impunity. All forms of violence and early forced marriages severely affect the mental and physical health of girls and is a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which Zimbabwe is a signatory.
The United Nations welcomes the investigations announced by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission into the death of Memory Machaya and look forward to the perpetrators being brought to justice.
Efforts by the Government, civil society and faith-based organizations and development partners, including the Spotlight Initiative, a partnership between the UN and the European Union must be strengthened to end violence against women and girls.