Comment at end
21st March 2010
MARRIED AT 3. DEAD, IN CHILDBIRTH, AT 12
It makes you want to throw up your arms in incredulity, doesn’t it?
It makes some of us want to throw up.
In a recent study by the NWC and Sanaa University’s Gender Development Research and Study Centre on early marriage in the governorates of Hadramaout and al-Hudeidah, 52 percent of 6,000 female respondents were married underage.
A 2007 report by the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) ranked Yemen 13 out of 20 worst countries in terms of the prevalence of child marriage. The report said 48.4 percent of women were married before 18.
Even as the Yemeni government tries to secularise its country, the women reported belwo, today proclaim Allah’s word on child marriage as the thing to follow. To follow this to its logical conclusion all girls can be married at aged 9. It seems these backward-looking women would prefer that there female children lose their virginity before puberty, and then possibly die in childbirth, whilst still a child, than be left “on the shelf”. Watch video on Child Marriage in Yemen.
SANAA (Yemen) – THOUSANDS of Yemeni women, their faces covered in religious veils, demonstrated outside the parliament on Sunday to oppose proposed legislation banning the marriage of girls under 17.
The protesters held up banners proclaiming ‘don’t ban what Allah made permissible,’ or ‘stop violating Islamic sharia law in the name of rights and freedoms,’ an AFP correspondent said. Answering calls by Muslim clerics who oppose the proposal on grounds it goes against Islamic sharia law, the protesters arrived in organised buses.
Proposed amendments to the civil status law stalled in parliament last August after severe opposition to a government proposal that would ban girls females 17 and males under 18 from marrying.
Child marriages are common in impoverished Yemen, especially in rural areas, where girls as young as eight are known to have been married off by desperately poor parents. Last year a child marriage case in Yemen made international headlines after a 12-year-old girl died in childbirth, together with the baby.
‘Where will this… new law take us?’ asked Umm Abdulaziz, a protester clad in black from head-to-toe. ‘Most rights groups have women who are over 40 and still not married,’ she added in an apparent taunt at unmarried activists in Yemen, whose largely traditional tribal society looks down on single women past a certain age. ‘There is a significant spinstership among female students in Yemen universities,’ she added.
A handful of women’s rights activists outside the parliament were seen leaving after being outnumbered by the demonstrators. ‘It is unreasonable to marry our daughters at the age of eight or nine. This is a serious problem,’ said Houriya Mashhour, deputy director of Yemen’s Women National Committee. — AFP