CNN reports that a 12-year-old Yemeni girl died of injuries to her genitals a few days after her arranged marriage to a much older man. The story comes via the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF), a women’s advocacy group in the region that denounces child marriage. The child, identified by a member of the SAF as Elham Mahdi, is just the latest Yemeni child-bride to make headlines, following the death of a 12-year-old during childbirth last year and the highly-publicized, self-sought divorce of a 10-year-old girl before that.
Yemen is certainly not the only country in the world with a high rate of child marriage, but it has been at the forefront of debate around the practice, in part because the custom is so hotly contested even within its own borders. Last year a law was passed (but later repealed) that set the minimum marriage age at 17. More recently, another proposed ban on child marriage has divided Yemeni women–some marching in protest, others marching in support.