Tanzania: 5 pregnant school girls arrested
Five pregnant school girls were arrested in Tanzania over the weekend in the southeastern town of Tandahimba.
The girls – aged between 16 and 19 – were arrested as part of a crackdown on child pregnancies. Rights groups have slammed the girls’ arrested, insisting that the men who impregnated them should have been arrested instead. The girls were later released on bail and authorities are still searching for the men involved.
Pregnant school girls arrested
Child pregnancies in Tandahimba have been on the rise in recent years. In 2015, more than 20 cases were reported in the town and this rose to more than 27 in 2017. District Commissioner Sebastian Waryuba announced a crackdown as part of his efforts to end teen pregnancies which resulted in the arrest of the five girls and their parents.
According to District Administrative Secretary Mohamed Azizi, the men who impregnated the girls have escaped and authorities are still trying to locate them.
“We have managed to arrest the girls and their parents but unfortunately those who impregnated the girls have escaped and we are looking for them,” he said.
Campaigners condemn arrests
Rights groups have criticised the arrest of the three girls, placing further criticism over how Tanzania deals with the issue of teen pregnancies.
“Prosecuting girls who are victims of sexual exploitation and violence, whilst allowing adult perpetrators to go free, sends out the wrong message,” said Christa Stewart, a lawyer who works with charity Equality Now.
“In a misguided attempt to prove that they take sexual violence seriously, the Tanzanian government is infringing on the human rights of adolescent girls and this is unacceptable. Arresting victims is never the solution.”
Tandahimba’s district commissioner Sebastian Waryuba insists the girls’ arrest will deter other students from getting pregnant and encourage parents to stop their children from engaging in sexual relationships.
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