End child marriage in Yemen: call on the government to enact and enforce a minimum age of marriage law

Wafa, child bride

Equality Now has just issued Women’s Action 34.3 Yemen: End child marriages by enacting and enforcing a minimum age of marriage law.

The 2011 revolution in Yemen led to a change in government that women hoped would result in improved lives for them and their children. During the protests women played important roles, as evidenced by the awarding of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize to Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman for her “non violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work." Despite their significant involvement in the revolution however, Yemeni women fear that their rights and participation in the decision-making process will continue to be marginalized and activists on the ground have relayed that key issues such as child marriage will not be considered a priority by the new government. A draft child marriage bill, introduced in Yemen’s parliament in 2009 that fixed a minimum marriage age for girls at 17 and prescribed penalties and punishment for violators, is still pending. Further discussion about the bill has been postponed, and it is unclear if and when this issue will be taken up.

Equality Now calls upon the Yemeni government to make the rights of women and girls a priority, to pass and enforce a law prohibiting child marriage, and to ensure the safety and human rights of child brides who have ended their marriages.

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