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World Briefing / Yemen

12-year-old dies in childbirth

September 13, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A 12-year-old Yemeni died after struggling for three days to give birth, a local human rights organization said.

Fawziya Abdullah Youssef died of severe bleeding while giving birth to a stillborn in the Zahra district hospital.

Child marriages are widespread in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, 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.

Youssef was only 11 when her father gave her to marry a 24-year-old man who works as a farmer in Saudi Arabia, said Ahmed Quraishi, chairman of Siyaj human rights organization, which promotes the rights of children in Yemen.

Quraishi said he stumbled upon Youssef while investigating cases of children who had fled from fighting in the north.

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