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July 23, 2013 Clip No. 3925

Seven-Year-Old Yemeni Girl Married Off to Man Her Grandfather's Age

Following are excerpts from an Al-Jazeera network report on a seven-year-old Yemini child bride, which was posted on the Internet on July 23, 2013:


Al-Jazeera TV presenter: A seven-year-old Yemeni child was married off by her father to a man her grandfather's age. Human rights organizations in the Abyan province have been dealing with this case. This is not a unique case. Child marriage in Yemen is something of a prevalent social phenomenon, which is shrouded in silence, due to poverty, destitution, and the lack of legal deterrents. This is the story of Basma, the youngest bride in Yemen.


Voice of reporter: She looks like your average seven-year-old girl. Basma is playing with the few toys that exist in this humble home in a run-down Abyan village. Nobody can take away one's childhood dreams, even though her childhood was violated two months ago, when she was sent to the home of a man she used to call "uncle." Unknowingly, she became his wife. This man is the father of her brother's wife. Her father gave her to him in a swap deal.


[...]


Basma has just finished first grade, and she says she is preparing for second grade. During the summer vacation, she draws whatever comes to her mind. She dreams of colorful flowers, not to be found in her surroundings. In another picture, what she draws is not merely a dream. She is a bride, who is being led by the hand by someone. In her innocence, she says that this man is her brother.


[...]


Basma's father is a fugitive, wanted by the local authorities, but he is still sending threats to Basma and her aunt. A legal task force, under the auspices of the Yemen Women Association, is striving to find a legal solution to protect Basma, and to return her to school, where she belongs.


[...]

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