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Has humanity completely vanished from our planet?

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Child marriages and death of young brides is very common in Yemen. Earlier, there was no news about it but in the present time human right organizations across the globe is making noise to stop such practices. Recently, an eight year old child bride, pretty small girl, died on her wedding night from internal haemorrhaging. A man almost five times her age was married to her. It’s a very common practice in Yemen to marry child brides to older men. In 2010, a 12 year old girl died suffering in the labour room trying to give birth to a baby. There have been many more incidents of these types recorded so far as almost a quarter of the female population are married before the age of 15 in Yemen. Groups worldwide are working to stop this archaic and lame practice which is completely disgusting, but having difficulties doing it and facing many challenges. The country has almost 80% of population below poverty line and that grips the people for practice of selling their daughters to be married in their childhood itself as it gets them good remuneration for their children and that’s why they don’t refuse it.

Yemen’s human rights minister wants child marriage outlawed after an 8-year-old girl died of internal injuries that she suffered on her wedding night. When reports emerged last week that a girl named Rawan, from the northern Yemeni town of Haradh, died a few days after being married off to a 40-year-old man, Yemenis were horrified. International outrage quickly grew, as the incident highlighted once again the extremely controversial issue of child marriage in Yemen — a country where the practice is still legal. Rawan’s cause of death was internal bleeding, believed to be the result of sexual intercourse that tore her uterus and other organs.

Many Yemenis say, they are forced to sell off their girls to older, wealthier men. In Yemen, deeply tribal and conservative, the issue of child marriage is an extremely complicated one. According to rights group Human Rights Watch , more than half of all young girls are married before the age of 18. About 14% of girls in Yemen are married before age 15.

In 2009, Yemen’s parliament passed legislation rising the minimum age of marriage to 17. However, conservative parliamentarians argued the bill violated Islamic law, which does not stipulate a minimum age of marriage, and the bill was never signed. Activist groups and politicians are still trying change the law, but more than 100 leading religious clerics have said restricting the age of marriage is “un-Islamic”. Over the last few years, several Yemeni child bride cases have emerged that have shocked the world, but conservative Mullas are yet adamant on religious practices.

In 2008, 10-year-old Nujood Ali became a heroine to Yemeni girls and an international sensation when she went to a court in Sanaa and asked a judge for a divorce. After a highly publicized trial, she was granted one. Over the summer, an 11-year-old Yemeni girl named Nada Al-Ahdal became an internet sensation when a video of her accusing her parents of trying to marry her off in exchange for money was uploaded in YouTube and quickly went viral. While her parents denied Nada’s story, and child rights activists questioned the veracity of her claims, the video was still viewed by millions of people.

Child marriage is defined by global organizations as a formal marriage or informal union entered into by an individual before reaching the age of 18. The legally prescribed marriageable age in some jurisdictions is below 18 years, especially in the case of girls; and even when the age is set at 18 years, many jurisdictions permit earlier marriage with parental consent or in special circumstances, such as teenage pregnancy. In certain countries, even when the legal marriage age is 18, cultural traditions take priority over legislative law.

Child marriages were common throughout history for a variety of reasons, including poverty, insecurity, as well as for political and financial reasons. Today, child marriage is still fairly widespread in developing countries, such as parts of Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia, Latin America and Oceania. The incidence of child marriage has been falling in most parts of the world. The countries with the highest observed rates of child marriages below the age of 18 are Niger, Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Guinea and the Central African Republic, with a rate above 60.

According to UNICEF’s “State of the World’s Children-2009” report, 47% of India’s women aged 20–24 were married before the legal age of 18, with 56% marrying before age 18 in rural areas. The report also showed that 40% of the world’s child marriages occur in India. The latest available UNICEF report for India uses 2004-2005 household survey data, on a small sample, and other scholars report lower incidence rates for India. According to 2011 nationwide census of India, the average age of marriage for women in India is 21. The child marriage rates in India, according to a 2009 representative survey, dropped to 7%. In its 2001 demographic report, the Census of India stated zero married girls below age 10, 1.4 million married girls out of 59.2 million girls in the age 10-14, and 11.3 million married girls out of 46.3 million girls in the age 15-19 (which includes 18-19 age group).

The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 was passed during the tenure of British rule on Colonial India. It forbade the marriage of a male younger than 21 or a female younger than 18 for Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and most people of India. However, this law did not and currently does not apply to India’s 165 million Muslim population, and only applies to India’s Hindu, Christian, Jain, Sikh and other religious minorities. The age at which India’s Muslim girls can legally marry, according to the Muslim Personal Law, is 9, and can be lower if her guardian (wali) decides she is sexually mature. Over the last 25 years, All India Muslim Personal Law Board and other Muslim civil organizations have actively opposed India-wide laws and enforcement action against child marriages; they have argued that Indian Muslim families have a religious right to marry a girl aged 15 or even 12. Several states of India claim especially high child marriage rates in their Muslim and tribal communities. India, with a population of over 1.2 billion, has the world’s highest total number of child marriages. It is a significant social issue. As of 2016, the situation has been legally rectified by The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

 (Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on feedback@www.afternoonvoice.com)

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Tamanhttps://authorvaidehi.com
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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