A tragic story has received international attention: a Yemeni child bride dies in labor. Fawziya Abdullah Youssef was only 12 years old at the time of her death. The death has raised many issues and questions. Read for more details.


The death occurred in Yemen which is an impoverished nation in the Middle East. The Telegraph, quotes the official statement from the Yemeni Organisation for Childhood Protection (Seyaj).

“The child, Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, died on Friday September 11 in western Yemen at the age of 12 due to a complicated delivery….The lack of a statutory minimum age for marriage makes it impossible for local officials to ban child marriages, especially among girls, or to punish their parents or spouses for the disastrous consequences of such marriages.”

The organization further notes that the 12-year-old girl grew up in a poor family and that her father suffered from kidney failure. At the age of 11, she was married off, and forced to leave school, and a year later became pregnant.

The Sidney Morning Herald quotes Seyaj director Ahmed al-Qorashi who says that nearly 50 per of girls are married off before the age of 15 in some part of rural Yemen. He goes on to reveal:

“These marriages are the result of poverty, ignorance and illiteracy, and lead to the destruction of the lives of these young girls, whose opinion is not taken in consideration.

The publication cites another case which drew notice and which had a better resolution. An eight-year-old girl, Nojud Mohammed Ali, was able to divorce her husband who was 20 years older than she. She had been put in the arranged marriage by her unemployed father. The girl’s lawyer Shaza Nasser has subsequently been able to get a divorce for a 10 year old.

The video report below reveals more on the story. It is hoped that the attention the ‘Yemeni child bride dies story’, tragic as it is, has received, will foster change and reform.