(Sanaa) –Yemen should protect its girls from the devastating effects of early marriage by setting 18 as the minimum age for marriage by law, Human Rights Watch said today. The current political transition and drafting process for a new constitution offer a unique opportunity for the Yemeni government to enact laws protecting the rights of girls.
In early September, a story emerged about an 8-year-old girl who bled to death on her wedding night after she was raped by her new husband, who is in his 40s. Since then, activists across the region have been discussing on various social media platforms how to combat the practice of child marriage. A new Human Rights Watch video documents the psychological and physical harm that child marriage causes to girls. In the video, a father expresses his regret at having chosen to give up his two young daughters to marriage, and two members of the religious community and a Nobel Laureate speak about the need to abolish the practice.
“Thousands of Yemeni girls have their childhood stolen and their futures destroyed because they are forced to marry too young,” said Liesl Gerntholtz, women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch. “The Yemeni government should end this abusive practice.”
Source: Human Rights Watch