The whole world was shocked after the terrible news from Yemen. An 8 year – old child bride died on her wedding night after suffering internal injuries due to sexual trauma. All organizations for Human rights are calling for the arrest of her husband, who was five times older than her.
According to the report of Al Nahar, Lebanon, the death occurred in the tribal area of Hardh in northwestern Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia.
This recent event brings even more attention to the already existing issue of forced child marriages in the Middle East.
“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.”
According to this report, more than quarter of young girls in Yemen are married before the age of 15. Besides the fact that they lose access to health and education, these child brides are commonly subjected to sexual, physical and even emotional violence in their forced marriages.
Probably the main issues is that there is currently no consistent established definition of a “child” that has been agreed upon worldwide. Due to this fact, there are various interpretations within countries and little protection for those who are affected.
The top priority of groups like HRC is establishing this age limit. This group was responsible for publishing the 54 – page report “How Come You Allow Little Girls to Get Married?” where is documented the lifelong damage to girls who are forced to marry at young ages. Majority of pro age -limit organizations agree that 18 should be the legal age for marriage.
In Yemen, in February 2009, was created a law where was set the minimum age for marriage at 17. However, it was repealed after more conservative lawmakers called it un – Islamic.