Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Child marriage

Child brides' enduring plight: Problem illustrates hold of tribal doctrines

"Yemen has no minimum age for marriage, and girls as young as 8 are often forced to wed. Many become mothers soon after they reach puberty. The country has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world. The death of a 12-year-old in childbirth this fall highlighted the health risks.
Child brides and young mothers are the most vivid manifestations of how tribal doctrines prevail over modern attitudes in the Middle East's poorest country. "

Saudi official moves to regulate child marriages
"Days after a Saudi judge upheld the marriage of an 8-year-old girl to a man 39 years her senior and blocked a divorce, the kingdom's justice minister said he plans to enact a law that will protect young girls from such marriages, according to local media reports. The law will place restrictions on the practice to preserve the rights of children and prevent abuses, Justice Minister Mohammed Al-Issa told Al-Watan, a daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia, where all newspapers require government permission to publish.Al-Issa said there would be a study of a system that will include regulations for the marriage of minors and everything related to such unions, the newspaper reported. No details on the restrictions or regulations were mentioned.The minister did not say whether child marriage would be abolished."

Child marriage still common in India
"The British raj tried to stamp it out. Mohandas Gandhi, himself a child groom, campaigned against it. The United Nations has condemned it. And in 2006, the Indian government explicitly banned it.
But child marriage remains pervasive in India, accounting for one-third of such unions worldwide and underscoring the contradictions and complexities of a society that produces cutting-edge engineers even as it clings to feudal traditions."

Here are two bills introduced in the House and Senate expressing the repugnance of the US Congress for child marriages in countries that receive U.S. foreign aid, neither of which seems to have made it out of committee. H.R. 2103: International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009; S. 987: International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009

Update: 12-year-old Saudi girl in divorce battle with 80-year-old husband

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