Lifting of teen pregnancy ban hailed
Publish date: 06 August 2018
Issue Number: 785
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Burundi's reversal of a ban preventing pregnant females and expectant teenage fathers from attending school is a victory for child rights, but steps must be taken to curb sexual exploitation and teen pregnancies, campaigners have noted. The Education Ministry on Friday reversed a month-old policy under which pregnant teens and young mothers, as well as the males who impregnated them, were expelled from their institutions. A report on the eNCA site notes that the Ministry did not give a reason for lifting the ban, which had sparked widespread criticism from rights groups which said it was retrogressive. Elin Martinez, child rights researcher with Human Rights Watch, labelled the ban as ‘highly damaging’. ‘The government should take this opportunity to develop a sound policy that fully supports teenage mothers to return to school, whilst ensuring it adequately tackles the root causes of teenage pregnancies,’ she said. Forty percent of victims of physical or sexual violence in Burundi are teenage females.