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Yemen Human Rights Minister Demands Parliament Outlaw Child Marriage

Huriya Mashhour, Yemen’s human rights minister, “said she would press parliament for the minimum age of marriage to be set at 18 after [a] child, identified only as Rawan, reportedly died from internal bleeding after marrying a 40-year-old man,” The Guardian reports. “We are asking to fix the legal age for marriage at 18, as Yemen is a signatory to the international conventions on children’s rights,” Mashhour told AFP, according to the newspaper (9/18). “Local officials, however, have denied the story is true,” CNN reports, adding, “CNN spoke with several locals who requested anonymity, as they feared possible reprisals. Many said they’d been ordered to stop discussing the case with the media, insisting officials there were actively downplaying what had happened.” Ahmed Al-Qureshi, who heads the Yemeni children’s rights group Seyaj, said, “The government is informing us that the [child] is in their custody and still alive, while other local sources are saying that she was secretly buried,” CNN notes, adding, “He’s demanding more transparency from officials” (Jamjoom/Almasmari, 9/16). “Those against setting a minimum marriage [age] in Yemen say that it goes against the country’s tradition, culture and religion,” BBC News writes, noting, “But some prominent religious clerics have supported the move, citing Islamic sources” (9/13).