from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – THE terror attacks by Muslim groups in northern Mozambique have led to rising levels of violence against women and girls.
There is also a spike in incidences of child marriage in temporary displacement camps due to desperation and people fleeing the brutal attacks in the Cabo
Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence as a weapon of conflict during conflict and displacement, and face increased risk of gender-based violence during displacement and when sharing cramped communal shelters.
CARE, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) said the conflict, displacement and loss of all possessions and sources of income were pushing girls into early or forced marriages as a coping mechanism.
“Child marriage is a major problem due to people often having fled with nothing and the lack of essential items and basic resources in IDP camps that are underfunded and overcrowded,” said Graca Goncalvez, a Gender Officer working for CARE Mozambique in Cabo Delgado.
She said girls were marrying between the age of 12 and 17, but in some cases, they were married before the age 11.
“Sometimes their parents are offering them for marriage because they need resources.”
“Sometimes girls are separated from their parents and she becomes the head of the family and needs to provide food for her younger siblings,” Goncalvez added.
CARE Mozambique is looking to raise US$8 million (R123 million) to respond to the worsening and underfunded humanitarian crisis in and around Cabo Delgado.
– CAJ News