Home Opinion Press Releases Child Marriage: Girls Not Brides Condemns Gborbu Wulomo

Child Marriage: Girls Not Brides Condemns Gborbu Wulomo

Girls Not Brides Stop Child Marriage
Girls Not Brides Stop Child Marriage

Girls Not Brides Ghana Partnership, a coalition of over 100 child rights organizations in all 16 regions of Ghana, has a mandate to end child marriage and all forms of violence against girls in Ghana.

The coalition, through its National Chairperson, calls on Ministers of Gender
Children and Social Protection, Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Domestic
Violence and Victim Support Unit under the Ghana Police Service and other relevant
stakeholders, to ensure adherence to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 1999, and Ghanaian domestic laws on the promotion of the rights of children.

Anecdotally, on 30th March 2024, most citizens of Ghana were disappointed in a worrying
and disturbing incident where news broke that Gborbu Wulomo of Nungua, Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru XXXIII married a 12-year-old young girl as a spiritual wife at a grand ceremony in conformity to their traditional rite. GNB Ghana Partnership finds this tradition as a breach of the fundamental human rights of the child.

Ghana as a country has pledged to the international community to protect its citizens
through the ratification of international conventions and protocols to protect women and
girls against violence. Article (4) of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women(DEVAW)(1993) states that no state should invoke any custom, tradition, or religious consideration ‘in the perpetration of violence against women. Article (2) of the AU Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women also enjoins the state to eliminate cultural and traditional conduct that reinforces the belief that discriminates against women including stereotyped gender roles.

Ghana has domesticated these international laws in its laws and prohibits all customary
practices that dehumanize or are injurious to the physical and mental well-being of persons in Article 26(2) of the 1992 Constitution. Although the people of Nungua are conforming to their traditions and customs it must be practiced according to the provision of the constitution.

Marriage Of Year Old Girl To Nungua Gborbu Wulomo
Marriage Of Year-Old Girl To Nungua Gborbu Wulomo

The constitution provides in Article 26(4) that no child shall be deprived by any other person of medical treatment, or education for religious reasons or traditional beliefs. And states the definition of a child to mean any person below the age of eighteen years.

Child Marriage is a violation of human rights that robs young girls of their childhood and
prospects, and we must work together to stop the said spiritual marriage of the 63-year
Wulomo of Nungua to the 12-year-old.

According to the UNFPA-UNICEF Global report in 2020, Ghana is home to 2 million Child brides representing 19% of all young women married before their 18th birthday, although child marriage has declined over the last three decades, from 34% in 1993. However, to be able to meet the ambitious goal of ending the practice by 2030, as set out in the Sustainability Development Goal, the traditional marriage between the Wulomo of Nungua should be dissolved with immediate effect.

We therefore call on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and other relevant stakeholders to act according to the constitution to save the 12-year-old child from this inhumane customary law of the Nungua Traditional Area.

The Girls Not Bride Partnership wishes to appeal to the National House of Chiefs to exercise
the powers conferred to them by the laws of the land in Article 49-55 of the Chieftaincy
Act,2008 to harmonize and modify the customary laws of Ghana to conform to the principle
of human rights and gender equality.

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