It takes a nation to protect the nation
Published September 9th, 2013 - 10:01 GMT via SyndiGate.info
An eight year old died of sexual injuries on her wedding night with her 40 year old husband in Yemen. [Photo for illustrative purposes courtesy of delhi4cats]
An eight year old child bride died in Yemen on her wedding night after suffering internal injuries due to sexual trauma. Human rights organizations are calling for the arrest of her husband who was five times her age.
The death occurred in the tribal area of Hardh in northwestern Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia. This brings even more attention to the already existing issue of forced child marriages in the Middle Eastern region.
"According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls will become child brides. Furthermore, of the 140 million girls who will marry before the age of 18, 50 million will be under the age of 15."
It is reported that over a quarter of Yemen's young girls are married before the age of 15. Not only do they lose access to health and education, these child brides are commonly subjected to physical, emotional and sexual violence in their forced marriage.
One of the main issues is that there is currently no consistent established definition of a "child" that has been agreed upon worldwide. This leaves various interpretations within countries and little protection for those who are affected.
Establishing this age limit is among the top priorities of groups like HRC which was responsible for publishing the 54-page report “How Come You Allow Little Girls to Get Married?”, documenting the lifelong damage to girls who are forced to marry young. Most pro age-limit organizations agree that 18 should be the legal age for marriage.
In February 2009, a law was created that set the minimum age for marriage at 17. Unfortunately, it was repealed after more conservative lawmakers called it un-Islamic.
Debate also here ; http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/9/9/8-year-old-yem... - no doubt the massed ranks of SWP/UAF, child protection charities and feminists are rioting outside the Yemeni embassy in protest at this very minute....er...oh...they're not...oh well..another day,another pc hypocracy
Surprise, the comments are open
A 13-year-old Yemeni girl died of internal injuries four days after a family-arranged marriage to a man almost twice her age, a human rights group said.
Ilham Mahdi al Assi died last Friday in a hospital in Yemen's Hajja province, the Shaqaeq Arab Forum for Human Rights said, quoting a medical report.
She was married the previous Monday in a traditional arrangement known as a 'swap marriage', in which the brother of the bride also married the sister of the groom, it said.
Sigrid Kaag, regional director for UNICEF, said in a statement that the United Nations child agency was 'dismayed by the death of yet another child bride in Yemen'.
'Elham is a martyr of abuse of children's lives in Yemen and a clear example of what is justified by the lack of limits on the age of marriage,' SAF said in a statement.
A medical report from al-Thawra hospital said she suffered a tear to her genitals and severe bleeding.
The Yemeni rights group said the girl was married off in an agreement between two men to marry each other's sisters to avoid having to pay expensive bride-prices.
The practice of marrying young girls is widespread in Yemen and drew the attention of international rights groups seeking to pressure the government to outlaw child marriages.
Legislation that would make it illegal for those under the age of 17 to marry is in serious peril after strong opposition from some of Yemen's most influential Islamic leaders.
The group said that was a common arrangement in the deeply impoverished country.
Yemen's gripping poverty plays a role in hindering efforts to stamp out the practice, as poor families find themselves unable to say no to bride-prices in the hundreds of dollars for their daughters.
More than a quarter of Yemen's females marry before age 15, according to a report last year by the Social Affairs Ministry.
Tribal custom also plays a role, including the belief that a young bride can be shaped into an obedient wife, bear more children and be kept away from temptation.
Last month, a group of the country's highest Islamic authorities declared those supporting a ban on child marriages to be apostates.
A February 2009 law set the minimum age for marriage at 17, but it was repealed and sent back to parliament's constitutional committee for review after some politicians called it un-Islamic. The committee is expected to make a final decision on the legislation this month.
Some of the clerics who signed the decree against a ban sit on the committee.
Further imperilling the effort is the weak government's reluctance to confront the clerics and other conservative tribal officials, whose support is essential to their fragile hold on power.
The issue of Yemen's child brides got widespread attention three years ago when an eight-year-old girl boldly went by herself to a courtroom and demanded a judge dissolve her marriage to a man in his 30s.
She eventually won a divorce, and legislators began looking at ways to curb the practice.
Nujood Ali was ten when her parents arranged a marriage to Faez Ali Thamer, a man in his thirties. Regularly beaten by her in-laws and raped by her husband, Ali escaped on April 2, 2008, two months after the wedding. On the advice of her father's second wife, she went directly to court to seek a divorce. After waiting for half a day, she was noticed by a judge, Mohammed al-għadha, who took it upon himself to give her temporary refuge, and who had both her father and husband taken into custody.
Shada Nasser agreed to defend Ali. For the lawyer, it was the continuation of a struggle begun with the installation of her practice in Sana'a, which she opened in the 1990s as the first Yemeni law office headed by a woman. She built her clientele by offering services to female prisoners.
Yemeni law allows girls of any age to wed, but it forbids sex with them until an indefinite time when they are considered "suitable for sexual intercourse." In court, Nasser argued that Ali’s marriage violated the law, since she was raped.
Ali rejected the judge's proposal of resuming living with her husband after a break of three to five years. On April 15, 2008, the court granted her a divorce.
After the trial, Ali rejoined her family in a suburb of Sana'a. She returned to school in the fall of 2008 with plans to become a lawyer.
Ali's memoirs were published in 2009, and royalties from international sales of the book were intended to pay for her schooling; but she did not attend school regularly.
Because of negative world press coverage about Yemen resulting from the case, Ali's passport was confiscated in March 2009 and she was prevented from attending the ceremonies for the Women's World Award in Vienna, Austria. Media reports also questioned whether proceeds from the book were in fact coming to the family.
However, as of 2010, Ali's family was living in a new two-story residence bought with the help of her French publisher and running a grocery store on the ground floor of the building. Ali and her younger sister were attending private school full-time