The parliament of the Republic of Togo has adopted laws against sexual relations with minors under the age of sixteen to protect students and apprentices at learning centers from child marriage and teenage pregnancies.
This adoption was done by the country’s Parliament on Tuesday (29 November) to protect minors under the age of sixteen against all forms of sexual violence, which are pervasive in the country.
The law will also provide support to victims of all forms of sexual violence.
According to a statement issued by the 94th pre-session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and its review of Togo for Human Rights Watch (Washington DC), the adolescent birth rate in Togo from 2004 to 2020 was 79 per 1,000 adolescent girls and women aged fifteen (15) to nineteen (19).
Furthermore, according to a 2017 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) data survey, 25% of girls in Togo were married before the age of 18, and 6% were married before the age of 15.
Forced marriage is allegedly reported to be common in the northern part of Togo and in the Vogan Region, which is about 50 kilometers away from the east of Lome.
However, Togo’s 2007 Code of the Child indicates that the minimum age of marriage is eighteen (18), and a court may grant exemptions from the age of 16 if a serious cause is found or if it has consent from a parent or legal guardian.
The code (Article 267) does not also specify what may constitute a serious cause.
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