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Yemen eyes ban on child brides

AFP-JIJI

Yemen’s rights minister said Saturday that she will press for the minimum age of marriage to be raised to 18, after the reported death of a young girl on her wedding night.

Eight-year-old Rawan Abdo Hattan is believed to have died last week from internal bleeding after sexual intercourse, following her marriage to a man in his 40s in Hajja province.

The provincial governor denied reports that Rawan had died. Ali al-Qaissi told the news agency SABA that “the young girl . . . is still alive and normally lives with her family who, in turn, deny the whole thing.” He added that “the young girl is currently in a social protection center after undergoing physical and psychological tests in a public hospital” in the area.

Huriya Mashhoor said she wanted to revive a bill that has been sidelined since 2009 that would have set the minimum age for marriage at 17, and amend it to raise the age to 18.

Activists say the bill was shelved when ultraconservative lawmakers from the Islamist Al-Islah party blocked it.