War in Yemen forces more girls into child marriage | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

War in Yemen forces more girls into child marriage

An extraordinary case of child marriage in Yemen has highlighted the rising number of forced, underage weddings. In rare instances, women have managed to fight back, reports Safia Mahdi from Sana'a.

When 12-year-old Hind visited her father in jail a few months ago, he told her she was to marry a fellow inmate. Her groom, 30, had been sentenced to death for drug smuggling and possession, but they would get married anyway, she was told.

When Hind's mother managed to get a court order cancelling the marriage contract, her story became one of the rare cases of reprieve in Yemen, where the rate of child marriage is rising rapidly.

There is still no clear law regulating the minimum age for marriage in Yemen and many girls are forced to marry at ages considered too young to allow for their consent.

Read more: Empowering women in Yemen's civil war

The ongoing war, that began in 2014, is one of the main drivers contributing to the climbing numbers of child marriages, according to a recent statement by a UN Security Council working group.

One case among many

Hind is not the only one in her family to have been forced to marry at a young age by her imprisoned father, her mother told DW from their modest two-room apartment on the outskirts of Sana'a.

One of her sisters, Sabrin, was married off by her father to another inmate. After the wedding she fell ill — and pregnant. Prisoners in Yemen are allowed weekly visits by their wives.

Another of Hind's sisters, Wadad, was also forced into marriage while still a child and already has two children of her own.

A court ruling canceling a marriage
Document of freedom: the judgement that overturned Hind's wedding contract

But even after winning the case to have the contract overturned, Hind's jilted groom threatened the mother via text message that he would take her daughter "by force" if Hind did not come to see him in prison soon. Their story has struck a chord among Yemenis.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Child marriage is one of the worst forms of child abuse inflicted on young girls, and should be universally banned.

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