The Gambia and Tanzania announced the end of the practice of child marriage along with prison sentences for those who continue the tradition. Gambian President Yahya Jemmah [BBC profile] on Wednesday announced [eNCA report] that “[a]s from today, July 6, child marriage is illegal and is banned in The Gambia.” He also announced [Daily Mail report] the penalties from violating the practice are steep. The adult spouse will spend 20 years in jail, the parents will spend 21 years in jail, and those who know about child marriage but fail to do anything about it will spend 10 years in jail. He then instructed the Gambian congress to pass a bill by July 21 to outlaw the practice. On Friday, the Tanzanian High Court [official website] ruled [HRW report] child marriage was illegal by ruling provisions of the Tanzania Law of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The ruling makes any marriage by anyone under the age of 18 in the country illegal, even with parental consent.
In recent years, the practice of child marriage has been criticized in many areas of the world. In November, The Guatemalan Congress approved legislation [JURIST report] to raise to legal age for marriage to 18. In April of last year Malawi raised the minimum marriage age to 18 [JURIST report] for both boys and girls. The move came after HRW called on Malawi to end the practice, [JURIST report] detailing how child marriage exposes girls to domestic and sexual violence. In 2014, Bangladeshi officials approved [JURIST report] the Child Marriage Prevention Act of 2014, requiring a two-year jail term for any person who marries a girl under the age of 18.