Human Rights Watch urges Yemen to ban child marriages


Rights group urges Yemen to ban child marriage


Human Rights Watch urged Yemen’s government on Thursday to ban marriages of girls under the age of 18, warning it deprives child brides - often forced to wed much older men - of education and harms their health.

The New York-based group said the political paralysis born of 10 months of protests aimed at ousting President Ali Abdullah Saleh had drawn attention away from the phenomenon of child marriage, but that Yemen’s government must address it.

“Girls should not be forced to be wives and mothers,” Nadya Khalife, the author of a 54-page report entitled: “How Come You Allow Little Girls to Get Married?” said in a statement.

“The government...needs to show that it has the political will to do this by adopting this law,” she told Reuters, calling for a law to set 18 as the minimum age for marriage.

“As Yemen undergoes political change, leaders should seize the opportunity to correct an injustice that does enormous harm and set the country on a new course of social justice, including equality for women and girls,” Khalife’s statement said.

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