Monday, September 16, 2013

Yemeni minister will re-introduce bill against child marriages

Minister Mashour
As the controversy is growing around the alleged death of another Yemeni girl following a marriage to a 40-year old man, Yemen Human Rights Minister, Hooria Mashour has promised she would sponsor a bill to introduce a legal minimum age on marriage. The minister wants to impose a age-ban on marriage at 17, thus criminalizing child marriage once and for all. 
When reports emerged last week that a girl named Rawan, from the northern Yemeni town of Haradh, died a few days after being married off to a 40-year-old man, Yemenis were horrified.International outrage quickly grew, as the alleged incident highlighted once again the extremely controversial issue of child marriage in Yemen -- a country where the practice is still legal. Residents of Haradh told local media outlets that Rawan's cause of death was internal bleeding, believed to be the result of sexual intercourse. Local officials, however, have denied the story is true. Governor, Ali al-Khaisy of the Hajja governorate to which Haradh belons, rejected the claims, declaring he had himself investigated the matter and established that the young school-girl was still living under her father's care and that no plan to marry her off had ever been planned.
Even Minister Mashour conceded that there was "not enough evidence at the moment about the incident". But true or not, Masour told AFP that she wrote to the president of the chamber of deputies "to re-file on the parliamentary agenda the bill limiting the age of marriage to 17 years, which has been suspended since 2009".
In 2009 and 2010 there were stories about the death of Yemeni child brides that were confirmed by Unicef, anmong others. 

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