Published on Mar 22, 2012
How much innocence of little girls childhood must fade away? How many mothers must die due to inadequate health care? How much illiteracy must develop before education becomes free and mandatory? How many victims must suffer before a law criminalizing domestic violence is issued? How many revolutions do women need participate in so that they find place in
the government and parliament?
Women’s rights are part of human rights… I will fight for my rights and break the silence…
We in #SupportYemen are fighting back against child marriage. This is a call for justice and equity for children especially the Yemeni girl child, who has the right to quality education, a childhood and the decision of whom and when to marry. Support us by taking a minute and sending a letter or a fax to Yemeni policy makers. Enough is enough. Letters should be addressed to:
Mr. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
President of the Republic of Yemen
Fax: +967 1 276 866
Fax: +967 1 252 803
Tel: +967 1 621 062
Judge Mursd Al-Arshani
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Fax: +967 1 252 138
Tel: +967 1 334 334
Mr. Yahya Ali Al Raei
Speaker of the House
26 September Street
Fax: +967 1 276 091
Tel: +967 1 272 765
I am writing to express my deep concern about the prevalence of child marriage in Yemen and the inaction shown to date by the Yemeni government to ban this practice. Yemeni women’s role in the 2011 revolution that led to the formation of your new government was key. This is a time when Yemen needs the participation and support of all its citizens. Allowing child marriage, which sees up to fifty percent of Yemeni girls married before they reach the age of 18, means that Yemen is not nurturing its future.
In addition, international organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and UNFPA have underscored the negative physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual and sexual implications of child marriage on girls, including septic abortion, still births, death due to early pregnancy, deprivation of education, few social connections, restricted mobility, limited control over resources, little or no power in their new households and increased risk of domestic violence.
I am aware that draft legislation fixing the minimum age of marriage for girls at age 17 with penalties and punishment for violators has been pending in parliament since 2009 and passing it without delay would be a first step to helping girls escape abuse and allowing them to fulfill their potential. The absence of a law banning child marriage in Yemen means that child brides have to resort to divorce laws for women to get out of their marriages (rather than having these marriages annulled as illegal) and are required to pay-back their dower to obtain a divorce. A case in point is 11-year-old Wafa who in 2009 was married off by her father to a 40-year-old farmer who raped, beat and tried to strangle her. Wishing to escape the abuse and continue her education, Wafa ran away from her husband’s house but was unable to get out of the marriage without paying back her dower which her father had spent before passing away.
Stopping child marriage is an international obligation of the Yemeni government under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) both of which contain provisions against the practice. Please ensure that the draft child marriage bill is considered and passed by parliament as soon as possible. Also, please ensure effective enforcement of this law, once passed and punishment for those in violation. In addition, please take measures to protect and promote the rights of girls who have ended or escaped child marriages, including by providing access to security, education and counseling.
I thank you for your attention.
This post is also available in: Arabic