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Tens of thousands of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers are banned or discouraged from attending school across Africa. This is according to a human rights watch report released today ahead of the day of the African child on June 16.

The African continent has the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the world. This is according to the United Nations.

A report by human rights watch indicates that every year, thousands of girls become pregnant when they are still in school. Adolescent girls who find themselves in this situation face many social and financial barriers to continuing with formal education.

The report indicates that, ”A minority of AU governments have continued to explicitly exclude pregnant girls from school.”

”Senior government representatives in countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania have publicly declared that pregnant students are to be expelled from public school”.

In these countries, politicians have frequently insisted on punitive measures imposed on girls they accuse of being moral failures. In Tanzania, government officials and police have gone so far as arresting pregnant girls and harassing their families to force them to confess who had impregnated them. Many of the girls have dropped out of school or expelled due to pregnancy or marriage.

Even in the country cases of discrimination against pregnant teenage girls have been evident although a report released recently by Twaweza indicated that the trend is changing as may people now prefer that girls who get pregnant be allowed to give birth and go back to school.

Human rights watch has recommended that African government should end the policy and practice of expelling female students who become pregnant, end pregnancy testing in schools and ensure that cases of sexual harassment and abuse are reported to the police and suspects to be prosecuted.

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