Women’s National Committee calls for raising minimum age for marriage [Archives:2008/1203/Local News]

October 30 2008

By: Almigdad Mojalli
SANA'A, Oct. 27 ) With the release of the sixth periodic report on achieving the goals of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Women's National Committee (WNC) has appealed to the Yemeni government to set the minimum age for marriage to 18 years old.

Deputy of the WNC Huria Mashhour said that this suggestion had already been presented to the parliament in 2000, but that it still had not been discussed.

According to Mashhour, the current personal status law sets the minimum age for marriage at 15 years old, but an amendment made to the law in 1999 has left it up to the parents to decide when their child is ready.

In its appeal, the commission also suggested to include a punishment of one year in prison and a fine of USD 500 for those who violate the law.

Mashhour indicated in a press conference last Sunday that the report had been presented by the WNC to the 41st session of CEDAW at the UN headquarters in New York this past July.

The CEDAW committee indicated that Yemen had not yet fully implemented the CEDAW although it signed the convention 24 years ago.

The CEDAW committee inquired about the situation of woman in Yemen in terms of national strategies, policies and legislation, violence against women and children as well as the situations of imprisoned women. It also asked about women's quota.

Member of Parliament Abdul Moamen Shuja'a Al-Deen stressed that signatories of CEDAW are obliged to apply the items that they have signed. He explained that the parliament has endorsed some items while others were still being discussed by the parliament.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly and signed by Yemen in 1984, is often described as an international bill of rights for women.