YEMEN: Unrest puts child marriage issue on back burner

Adel Yahya – IRIN – Tuesday, 27 December 2011(originally published  22 Dec)

Yemen classroom with teacher and students
Child marriage is one of factors disrupting girls' education in Yemen. Image: Adel Yahya/IRIN

 DHAMAR, 22 December 2011 (IRIN) –  Poverty and unemployment, exacerbated by the current political unrest, are driving up child marriages in Dhamar Governorate and elsewhere in Yemen, says Asmaa al-Masri, a sociologist at Dhamar University.

Several hundred girls in Dhamar have been forced into early marriages because their families need money, she told IRIN. “The number of child marriage victims is increasing, but no one pays attention to the problem because of the political unrest.”

Draft legislation on “safe motherhood”, including articles banning child marriages, has not been debated as a result of the ongoing political unrest which interrupted parliament business, said MP Mohammed Qowarah, adding: “If there had been no protests, the parliament would have taken good steps towards tackling the phenomenon . . .”

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