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The new legislation aims to proscribe child marriage and female genital mutilation.

Within the confines of the comprehensive Yemeni Child Rights Act, the minimum age for marriage would be 18, in line with the international human rights, moreover it would ban female genital mutilation (FGM). The new legislation also would impose fines on guardians, marriage officials and any other witnesses aware of any offense against the law.

The emergence of the official legislation was facilitated by the push of Yemeni human rights minister, Hooria Mashhour and other actors in the government. The main opponents of the law are the traditional and religious leaders and the parliament's sharia committee.

However, due to the power of the president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, he is able to overrule their decisions, and it is certain that the growing support for protecting girls from early marriage will shape his decision considerably.

Early marriage and FGM are among the serious problems of Yemen. According to the UN, more than half of Yemeni girls are married by the age of 18, which can impose harmful impacts on their physical, psychological and educational development. In addition, early marriage is only a part of a problem, as abuse often continues in the form of sexual violence and FGM. The new legislation would ban FGM and violence against children, including child labour.

Yemen also recognized the significance of an interlinked approach which is a necessary condition to ensuring those at risk are protected early on from the prospect of a lifetime of abuse. Furthermore, effective implementation and well-resourced health, education and justice systems are also crucial aspects to reach the desired goals.

Stepping forward regarding the rights of girls is also perceptible in other countries in the Arab world. For instance, one of the Pakistani local assembly voted to create a law to introduce a minimum age of 18 for marriage.

Hopefully, Yemeni authorities will seize the moment to achieve major advances which is not only beneficial for the female population but for the entire society. This can mean a huge step toward a future for Yemen where the rights of girls are better respected.


The gLAWcal team

The 6th of May 2014

(Source: The Guardian)

This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.