Following reports that an 8-year-old girl in Yemen was killed after having intercourse with her 40-year-old husband, the nation's human rights minister is looking to pass a law banning child marriage.
Hooria Mashhoor asked Yemen's parliament to pass a law outlawing the practice, BBC reported. She aims to resurrect a four-year-old bill that would make it illegal for children under age 17 to get married. Mashhoor wants to raise the age to 18 and finally push the law through the legislature, where it has sat since 2009, according to Al Jazeera.
While Mashhoor told CNN the initiative is not only about the case of the 8-year-old, it seems clear that the recent story (which went viral online) is what spurred the latest push to outlaw the tradition.
The girl, identified as Rawan, reportedly died earlier this month of "vaginal tearing" in the northwestern town of Haradh, near the Saudi Arabian border. Her death is said to have happened on her wedding night. However, both local officials and Rawan's father have said the reports are the product of rumors run amok.
In order to get to the bottom of things, Yemen's government says it will conduct an investigation. Aides to Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindawa said they would examine any wrongdoing and prosecute those who may be responsible, Reuters reported on Friday.
The government may be reacting to international pressure after the story was picked up by news outlets on several continents. The Foreign Policy Chief of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, put out a statement Friday, calling on Yemen's government to set a minimum age for marriage, "in line with international norms."
But because the story is shrouded in mystery, and since child brides are common in parts of Yemen where poverty pushes families to marry off their daughters at young ages, it's unclear if the nation's congress will pass the law.
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Tahani (in pink), who married her husband Majed when she was 6 and he was 25, posing for this portrait with former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, outside their mountain home in Hajjah, Yemen, June 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Stephanie Sinclair, VII Photo Agency for National Geographic magazine)
In this photo taken on Saturday, July 20, 2013, people protest against underage marriages in Lagos, Nigeria. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
In this picture taken Wednesday, July 18, 2012, Zali Idy, 12, poses in her bedroom in the remote village of Hawkantaki, Niger. Zali was married in 2011. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay-file)
Pappi, left, an under aged Indian bride, poses for photographs with groom Mangilal Tawar after their marriage at the Jalapa Mata Hindu temple in Rajgarh, Madhya Pradesh state, India, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Anil Dixit)
An Indian bride, center, holds a child as she sits with other brides during a mass marriage of 162 Muslim couples in Ahmadabad, India, Sunday, March 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
In this picture taken Friday, July 20, 2012, Sarey Amadou, 14, poses in her bedroom in the remote village of Hawkantaki, Niger. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
In this July 20, 2012, photo, Aicha,14, poses in her bedroom in the remote village of Kaihi Niger, originally from Hawkantaki. Aicha has been married for seven months. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
In this photo taken on Saturday, July 20, 2013, a woman protests against underage marriages in Lagos, Nigeria. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)