An eight-year-old child bride has died in Yemen of internal bleeding sustained during her wedding night after being forced to marry a man five times her age, the British Daily Mail reported, citing activists.
The girl, identified only as Rawan, died in the tribal area of Hardh in northwestern Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia.
- Americans in Yemen fear kidnappings
- Child bride cries out against child marriage
- Growing anger over US drones in Yemen
According to the Daily Mail, activists are now calling for the groom, who is believed to be around 40 years old, and her family to be arrested. They say arrests would help put a stop to the practice of marrying very young girls to older men in the impoverished region.
According to the report, the practice of marrying young girls is widespread in Yemen and has attracted the attention of international rights groups seeking to pressure the government to outlaw child marriages.
Yemeni girl who cried out against forced marriage
Yemen's gripping poverty plays a role in hindering efforts to stamp out the practice, as poor families find themselves unable to say no to 'bride-prices' that can be hundreds of dollars for their daughters, the Daily Mail said.
More than a quarter of Yemen's females marry before age 15, according to a report in 2010 by the Social Affairs Ministry.
Tribal custom also plays a role, including the belief that a young bride can be shaped into an obedient wife, bear more children and be kept away from temptation.
The British newspaper reported that in September 2010, a 12-year-old Yemeni child-bride died after struggling for three days in labor to give birth, a local human rights organization said.
Yemen once set 15 as the minimum age for marriage, but parliament annulled that law in the 1990s, saying parents should decide when a daughter marries.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop