In September 2009, a Yemeni girl of twelve years died in giving birth to her baby. An illustration of the many "brides of death" married off even before puberty in a country where tribal traditions are the law.
The Yemeni Organization for the Protection of Children (Siyaj) announced yesterday that the small Fawzia Abdullah Youssef had died in a hospital in Hajjah province, north of Sanaa. The girl died shortly after arriving at the hospital and the child was stillborn, according to the Siyaj.
"Fawzia had been withdrawn from school and forcibly married eleven years to a man 25 years by his family who live in need," said director of Siyaj, Ahmad al-Qourashi, adding that his father suffered from renal failure.
The family lived in a remote village in the district of Al Zuhr, in the province of Hodeyda.
He estimated that "nearly 50% the proportion of teenage girls and married for 15 years" in the rural areas of Yemen.
"These marriages are the result of poverty, ignorance and illiteracy and lead most often to destroy the lives of these young girls whose opinion is not taken into account during the marriage," said M . Qourashi.
Siyaj conducted, with other nongovernmental organizations, a constant struggle to pass a law setting the legal age of marriage to at least 17 years and imposing fines for fathers who transgress.
"Our efforts have resulted in the adoption of this law by Parliament in February, but President of the Republic Ali Abdullah Saleh has still not enacted, "says Qourashi.
Yemen, a country of the Arabian Peninsula's poorest of the world population has a tribal structure and forced marriage is widely practiced.
Last year, the case of a girl of eight years, Nojoud Mohammad Ali, who had obtained a divorce, had highlighted the situation of thousands of female children, forced into marriage.
In power since 1990, President Ali Abdullah Saleh is challenged by the population that requires his immediate departure. Popular demonstrations organized in the capital Sanaa since January 27, 2011 are repressed in blood daily.
State of the Arabian Peninsula from 24 million to the tribal organization (the most important are Hached and Baqil), Yemen was hit by poverty and unemployment rampant despite its large reserves of gas estimated at 259 billion m3. The country also produced 300,000 barrels of oil per day goal.