Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
The death of 8-year-old girl named Rawan, who reportedly died from injuries sustained in Yemen on her wedding night, has brought to national attention the issues–and dangers–associated with legal child marriage in that country. A growing number of voices are calling for the practice to be outlawed, as CNN.com reports:
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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 that tore her uterus and other organs.
Local officials, however, have denied the story is true.
Amidst the numerous claims and counterclaims, Hooria Mashhour, Yemen’s human rights minister, has declared enough is enough — telling CNN that the growing anger over Rawan’s case has presented Yemen with an opportunity to finally do the right thing.
“This isn’t the first time a child marriage has happened in Yemen, so we should not focus only on this case,” Mashhour said.
“Many child marriages take place every year in Yemen. It’s time to end this practice.”
“I personally have (talked to) the human rights coordinator for the ministry on the ground in Haradh,” said Mashhour, “and he informed me that nearly everyone he spoke to is denying the story, but he feels strongly suspicious. We feel people may be hiding information due to fear.”