(By Mairo Danlami)
A 12-year-old Yemeni child bride died after struggling to give birth for three days, a local human rights organisation said.
Fawziya Abdullah Youssef died of severe bleeding on Friday while giving birth to a stillborn in the al-Zahra district hospital of Hodeida province, 140 miles west of the capital Sanaa.
Child marriages are widespread in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country which has a population of 23million, where tribal customs dominate society.
More than a quarter of the country’s females marry before age 15, according to a recent report by the Social Affairs Ministry.
The issue of child brides came to prominence in the country two years ago when ten-year-old Nujood Ali (pictured) went by herself to a courtroom and demanded a judge dissolve her marriage to a man in his 30s
Youssef was only 11 when her father married her to a 24-year-old man who works as a farmer in Saudi Arabia, said Ahmed al-Quraishi, chairman of Siyaj human rights organization.
Al-Quraishi, whose group promotes child rights in Yemen, said that he stumbled upon Youssef in the hospital while investigating cases of children who had fled from the fighting in the north.
‘This is one of many cases that exist in Yemen,’ said al-Quraishi. ‘The reason behind it is the lack of education and awareness, forcing many girls into marriage in this very early age.’
Impoverished parents in Yemen sometimes give away their young daughters in return for hefty dowries.