Yemeni child speaks out against marriage

July 23, 2013 at 7:22 AM
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SANAA, Yemen, July 23 (UPI) -- An 11-year-old Yemeni girl made a passionate plea on a video posted on YouTube against her parents' plans to marry her off against her will.

"It's true that I ran away from my family. I can't live with them anymore. Enough. I want to go live with my uncle. What about the innocence of childhood? What have the children done wrong? Why do you marry them off like that?" Nada al-Ahdal asked in an impromptu video recorded in a car and posted on YouTube, Middle East Media Research Institute, based in Washington, said Monday.

Yemen's Ministry of Interior entrusted her uncle with her guardianship after Nada fled her parents' home, the organization said. The young girl, one of eight siblings, lives with her uncle in Sanaa. A month ago at her parents request, she was sent home to discover they had arranged to marry her off to a local man in his 20s who works in one of the Gulf countries.

"I'd rather die. I'd rather live with my uncle than with these people. They threatened to kill me if I went to my uncle. What kinds of people threaten their children like that," Nada asked. She noted her sister had also been married off at 11 and a maternal aunt committed suicide at 14 after being forced into marriage.

She noted while she managed to evade marriage, many other young girls are forced into marriages against their will.

"I managed to solve my problem, but some innocent children can't solve theirs, and they might die, commit suicide, or do whatever comes to mind. They're just kids. What do they know? They didn't have time to study, or anything. It's not our fault. I'm not the only one. It can happen to any child. There are many cases like that. Some children decide to throw themselves into the sea. They're dead now. This is not normal for innocent children."

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