The American Center for Justice (ACJ) followed the tragic incident in the Yemeni governorate of Rayma, where a family faked the age of their daughter after beating her severely with the aim of forcing her to marry. The sheikhs and notables of the area described the incident as a sale and they confirmed it almost led to murder.
The victim, Ola Abdo Ghanem, is 11 years old; however, her uncle forged her age documents in order to marry her off to an elderly man. The uncle had already handed Ola over to him for a sum of money equal to less than 400$, and the purpose of marrying her was to cover up the crime of handing her over to the elderly in return for money.
The child Ola says that she had been abused by her father and his wife before he handed her over to her uncle in whose house she was tortured and ill-treated again and forced to work hard before handing her over to the old man for 200,000 Yemeni riyals. According to the narration of one of the notables of the region to whom Ola resorted, the man took turns with his sons to torture her. In order to cover the crime before it was exposed, they issued a marriage contract with a dowry of one million riyals, which was shared by the uncle and father. Furthermore, they issued forged documents stating that she was 19 years old.
Ola's family asked the elderly man and his sons to kill her, according to the accounts. The wife of the elderly man who bought her, smuggled her to the house of one of the notables of the area who protected her. The security authorities affiliated with the Houthi group were informed of the crime, yet they ignored the case and didn't take it seriously.
The American Center for Justice (ACJ) finds in this crime a violation of the entire rights and dignity of the child Ola, which are rights guaranteed in laws, religions and international conventions, foremost of which is the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Center believes that this incident is a serious indication of the violations that Yemeni girls are subjected to.
ACJ calls on the international community to stand up to this incident seriously, quickly intervene and put pressure on the authorities of the Houthi group to deal firmly with the perpetrators and hold them accountable without delay, and to quickly provide material, moral and legal assistance to the girl Ola, and give full attention to the issues of children in Yemen.
These practices belong to the medieval times, where men were robed of their will and women were treated since their childhood as commodities and property. Humanity has struggled to overcome and criminalize such practices and has established bodies, entities, agreements, covenants and charters to liberate man from all kinds of exploitation.