Yemen Legal Age of Marriage

Huriya Mashhoor said she would urge parliament to set the minimum age of marriage at 18 after the child, identified only as Rawan, reportedly died of internal bleeding after marrying a 40-year-old man. « We demand that the legal age of marriage be set at 18, as Yemen is a signatory to international conventions on the rights of the child, » she told AFP. The world became aware of these gender-based abuses when Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni activist, was named co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize in October. Karman has led the anti-Saleh protests, and she is also a women`s rights activist and a strong advocate for setting a minimum age for child marriage. The tribute to Karman reminds us that respect for women`s rights cannot be ignored, including the right of girls and women to be free from child, forced and other forms of discrimination. This study examines how conflict and related displacement influence decision-making and the consequences of child marriage. The study`s prevalence data shows that displaced girls have higher rates of child marriage than their male and foster counterparts. Prevalence rates among 20-24 year olds in this study are lower than UNICEF`s recent data on child marriage in Yemen, suggesting that 32% were married before the age of 18 and 9% before the age of 15 (UNICEF and ICRW 2017). However, the data from this study cannot be generalized to the entire Yemeni population for reasons of sampling design. First, the sample targeted areas with a high concentration of internally displaced persons and therefore did not include rural areas where higher rates of child marriage were observed (UNFPA 2012). Second, our 20- to 24-year-old sample was small due to the focus we placed on households aged 10-19, which preserved our ability to study the immediate effects of displacement on child marriage. The percentage of displaced girls aged 10-19 who are currently married (Table 3) is higher than the percentage of girls aged 20-24 who were married before the age of 18 (Table 2). Although cross-sectional data cannot assess trends in child marriage, it does suggest the possibility of an increase in the rate of child marriage in the younger group.

In addition, higher rates among IDPs relative to the host population suggest that the local context alone cannot explain all child marriages and that there may indeed be a displacement role. Our research, and that of many other experts and organisations, highlights that child marriage robs girls of their childhood and adolescence by placing them in charge of marriage, childbirth and other adult duties. This restricts their personal freedom and deprives them of the opportunity to develop a full sense of identity. There is a risk of harming their physical health, including their reproductive and sexual health, and increases the risk of physical and psychological abuse by husbands and in-laws. After all, they are often denied access to education, leaving them economically vulnerable and unable to earn a living. [66] The negative consequences of child marriage are not limited to girls` childhood but, as this report shows, can persist throughout their adult lives. Quantitative surveys were used to estimate the prevalence of child marriage among displaced populations in three governorates, using qualitative interviews to further describe the associations observed in the quantitative data. This study is novel in its ability to contribute both to a new and needed database and to provide a starting point for making child marriage a focal point of the needs of people in crisis. However, the situation in Yemen is not conducive to legislative and policy progress, and child marriage is not a priority for the government. UNFPA and UNICEF are working with the de facto authorities to ensure that the most vulnerable adolescent girls are reached, including in emergency relief operations.

Islah`s role in subsequent amendments to the 1992 law is particularly revealing as it shows not only the Islamization of the debate, but also the sharp divisions within the party. After his success in the 1993 elections, Islah was instrumental in changing the law that made Sharia law the sole source of law in Yemen, thus ending the legal influence of socialist voices in the former South (Philbrick Yadav 2010b, 209). Then, in 1999, Islah supported an amendment that made family law even less favorable to women, with a specific reference to Sharia law as the sole source of law. However, the age of marriage was no longer determined by age, but was simply « maturity », understood as sexual maturity. However, even Islah representatives were divided on this issue, and Islahi women in particular argued that spiritual maturity should be included as a prerequisite for marriage. This report did not become what it was supposed to be. The initial idea behind the design was to follow the conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference in 2014 and the implementation of its recommendations into more gender-friendly laws at the end of the transition period. It is planned to consider a wider range of family law issues, such as the right of women to transmit citizenship, the rights to marriage and divorce, and the issue of the minimum age for marriage. However, as events unfolded towards the end of the transition period, things deteriorated in Yemen and the start of the Saudi military campaign in March 2015 effectively ended the remaining legislative process.

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