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President Robert Mugabe has commended the child parliamentarians for exhibiting maturity in the debates they carried out during the official opening of the 23rd Session of the Children’s Parliament in Harare today. Mugabe, who was addressing the same gathering, castigated early child marriages saying girls should not be seen as ripe for marriage judging by their physical appearance. He said child marriages cause irreparable damage to girls and denies them the right to personal development such as education. President Mugabe bemoaned the rise in child prostitution in some parts of the country and early marriages due to socio-economic factors. The President said government is obliged to put children’s rights high on national agenda, including ensuring their safety, right to health and educational facilities. He said children should be taught how to protect national interests, how the law is upheld and the discharge of duties by the members of parliament, among other things. President Mugabe also commended the Marange Apostolic Sect for heeding governments’ call to build schools and educate their children. He, however, urged the sect to put the children’s rights first through seeking medical attention to reduce infant mortality rate among its members. Meanwhile, speaking at the same occasion, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said parents are responsible for the sponsorship of their children’s needs and government is committed to ensure the fulfilment of human rights for children under the human rights law. Mnangagwa said international instruments on children’s rights are monitored by the government to ensure compliance. He added that the inter-ministerial taskforce on human rights is actively engaged in ensuring the various requirements under the children’s rights are adhered to and implemented. Mnangagwa said as government they agree with the Chiefs’ views that minors should not be forced into marriages and urged the children to set high ambitions in life through acquiring higher educational qualifications so that they have a better life. Mugabe Source: zbc