Sierra Leone lifts ban on pregnant schoolgirls

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Pregnant girls in Sierra Leone must be allowed to go to school under new ruling ( AFP via Getty Images )
Pregnant girls in Sierra Leone must be allowed to go to school under new ruling ( AFP via Getty Images )

Sierra Leone has overturned a ban on pregnant girls attending school. Through a statement by the Ministry of Education the government said that it sought to build a state that embraced every citizen.

In part the statement reads, ‘’scrapping the ban is the first step in building a radically inclusive Sierra Leone where all children are able to live and learn in safety and dignity’’.

Sierra Leone banned pregnant girls from going to school in 2015 after a surge in sexual violence and teenage pregnancies driven by the Ebola crisis.

Officials at the time of the ban argued that pregnant girls would be unable to learn and might influence other girls to get pregnant.

But the policy proved highly controversial with a section of right groups complaining it was discriminatory and left teenage mothers chained to poverty as they were denied education.

In December, the Court of Justice of the West Africa bloc Ecowas and ordered Sierra Leone to retract the ban.

Women and girls in the former British colony face high levels of sexual violence, partly a banlegacy of the use of rape as a weapon during the civil war of 1991-2002.

 

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