A 12-year-old girl died in Yemen, along with her fetus, due to a difficult delivery.

Seyaj said that the child, Fawzia Abdullah Youssef, who was forced to marry at an early age, died on Friday in the Al-Zahra region of Al-Hodeidah Governorate, western Yemen, due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth, as doctors failed to save her.

The organization said that the child, who grew up in a destitute family and a father with kidney failure, was forced into marriage at the age of eleven and conceived the following year.

The organization said that the lack of laws specifying the minimum age for marriage makes it difficult for local officials to ban child marriage or to punish parents or husbands for resulting complications.

Ahmed Al-Qorashi, director of the Seyaj Organization, said, “Fawzia’s case demonstrates the tragedy of those whom we call ‘the brides of death’, who are children, many of whom no older than 15, who are forced into marriage typically for financial reasons.”

Al-Qorashi added that the rate of marriage of girls and girls under the age of fifteen in rural areas of the country is approximately 50% and that these marriages are the result of poverty, ignorance, and illiteracy.

Last year, a Yemeni court ordered the divorce of Nujud, an eight-year-old girl, whose unemployed father forced her to marry a man twenty years her senior, claiming he was frightened the husband would abduct her.

Nujud’s case shed light on the suffering of many Yemeni girls who are forced into marriage.

Commenting on the death of Fawzia Youssef, lawyer Shatha Nasser, Nujud’s legal representation in the divorce case, said, “This is a real tragedy for which the government is culpable, as President Ali Abdullah Saleh has failed to release a law requiring a minimum age for marriage, which Parliament passed in February.”

The lawyer added that the government should launch awareness campaigns in rural areas and prevent clerics from holding the marriage of girls under the age of seventeen.

Nasser added that the authorities should also ensure that girls get some level of education in the country, where the illiteracy rate is estimated at 33.4% among men and 76% among women.

Since Shatha Nasser won Nujud’s case, she has been entrusted with pleading in the cases of many girls whose circumstances are similar and were encouraged to talk about their situation because of Nasser’s success in the courts.

The lawyer succeeded in winning a divorce case for another 10-year-old girl named Arwa.

Nasser says that she is currently working with a girl whose father married her off when she was two years old because he needed her dowry. The child was allowed to stay with her parents until the age of thirteen, when she was expected to consummate the marriage.The article on the BBC website

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