Forced Marriage in the News

Egyptian Embassy in Yemen rescues girl from Forced Marriage

29th April 2013

A young Egyptian girl has been assisted by the Egyptian Embassy in Yemen to flee a forced marriage to one of her relatives. Her foster family were keeping her in the house by force so the girl phoned Chancellor Hadad El-Gohary and informed him of the situation. With support from the local authorities, embassy staff removed the girl from the house and found temporary accommodation for her. She will be flown back to Egypt this week.

 

Saudi Arabia: 15 year old girl forced to marry elderly man

11th January 2013

Reports of a forced marriage between a 15 year old girl and a man who is allegedly aged between 70-80 years old have renewed debate in Saudi Arabia about the country's acceptance of child brides. The groom, who paid approximately £11,000 in dowry, was outraged when the girl locked herself in the bedroom on their wedding night and refused to consummate the marriage. When the girl returned to her family, he threatened to sue for the return of either his money or the girl. The same man is also alleged to have been married to a 15 year old Yemeni girl, who fled after a few weeks.

Advocates in Saudi Arabia continue to fight against child marriage.

 

Forced Marriage to be criminalised in England and Wales

17th July 2012

It was confirmed last month by prime minister David Cameron that forced marriage is to become a criminal offence in England and Wales. This announcement comes after a 12-week consultation during which Asha, amongst other organisations, argued against criminalisation.

The law will not come into effect until after the 2013/14 parliamentary session and it is not known at present what the maximum sentence for the offence will be.

 

10 Forced Marriage Protection Orders in Lancashire

27th September 2011

Since Forced Marriage Protection Orders were introduced three years ago, Lancashire Police have used the civil order ten times. They were the first constabulary to successfully apply for the new legislation in order to prevent Aurang Zeb taking daughter Rozina Akhtar abroad to get married against her will.

The most recent order was granted last month. Each of the 10 successful FMPOs were for fixed terms between three and twelve months or until the person facing forced marriage reached 18. There have been no breaches of the orders and they have not been dropped or relaxed either.

FMPOs may be taken out in order to restrict travel arrangements, remove named parties from the country, surrender passports, stop marriage arrangements and prevent using or threatening with force.

The orders are part of civil legislation and can be obtained by social services amongst other authorities, such as education, health, housing and benefit authorities.

Tackling Forced Marriage in Slough

8th August 2011

A new campaign has been launched in Slough to tackle Forced Marriages in the Pakistani community. JAN Trust, a women's charity that deals with issues around minority communities and migrants, have set up a new awareness-raising campaign called Mujboor, which means 'forced' in Urdu.

Project Manager Sajda Mughal says "We want to raise awareness on this inhumane act and educate them on their rights."

A member of the Foreign Commonwealth Office's Forced Marriage Unit Partnership Board added "At the same time we want mothers to be able to support their daughters by giving them correct information which clearly states that a forced marriage is not an act permitted by Islam."

"Changing behaviours and attitudes that lead to the abuse must be done at a local level and it is a project such as Mujboor that will make a difference."

The JAN Trust revealed statistics showing that 26% of the 1342 forced marriage calls received by them were from Slough.

The campaign will use a series of workshops designed to increase awareness and highlight support that is available. It also aims to educate mothers to ensure that their daughters are not forced into marriages.

The project has gained support from respected Imams which is strengthening the message that forced marriage is not accepted in Islam. It is also being supported by members of Slough's Asian and Pakistani community.

 

Forced Marriage should be criminalised, say UK MPs

 

23rd May 2011

 

The Commons Home Affairs Select Committee said that current legislation was not clearly protecting those at risk.

The MPs said "We believe that it would send out a very clear and positive message to communities within the UK and internationally if it becomes a criminal act to force - or to participate in forcing - an individual to enter into marriage against their will."

Currently, Forced Marriage Protection Orders are used to protect people facing forced marriage, and if the conditions of the order are breached, then people who force others into marriage could be imprisoned for up to two years. Between November 2008 and February 2011, 300 Forced Marriage Protection Orders were issued but MPs argue that there is a lack of effective follow-up action. Only one person has been jailed for breaching an order.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: "There should be zero tolerance of this harmful activity that ruins the lives of so many."

 

Forced Marriages at 'record high' according to South Wales Police

 

8th March 2011

 

South Wales Police say that they are dealing with the highest number of forced marriage and honour-based violence cases that they have ever seen.

Over the last year, the force has dealt with 49 cases of forced marriage, up from a typical 30-35. They are getting new cases almost every week.

The figures have been released to coincide with International Women's Day.

Ch Supt Neil Kindrade, head of the communities and partnerships department of the South Wales Police said ' I'm pleased that we are dealing with the numbers [of cases that] we are, however, we are still only dealing with a small number of the actual incidents and practices that are taking place.'

'This, amongst the community, is a hidden harm. It goes on and it goes on often unchecked by senior members of the community who know it's taking place.'

His force have created a training scheme which is now used by over half of UK police forces.

One of the ideas to help people who are worried they may be lured to their family's country of origin to be married against their will, is to provide them with a secret mobile phone that they can use in emergencies.

The force has also set up a 'buddy' scheme, where survivors can act as role models for those who are currently experiencing forced marriage.

Ch Supt Kinrade added: 'We do understand the issues and I think we are becoming more effective at dealing with it but what I sense is happening is there is an East v West clash.'

He said that many young people growing up in South Wales are 'very westernised' but when their families try and choose their marriage partner for them, it 'often comes as a complete shock...against their intent to go to university, to maybe follow a career path. And that's where many youngsters are rejecting it.'

'And I think that's important, because here in the UK - and this is the government and the police stance - people must have their basic human rights of determining their own future.'

 

Forced Marriage has no place in Scottish society

One third of Lothian's residents knows someone who has been affected by forced marriage, the Scottish Government has revealed.

In an online survey, 70% of people felt that forced marriage had no place in Scottish society and that there should be stricter preventative measures.

Alex Neil, Communities Minister said: "Forcing someone into a marriage is a brutal process. Sadly, we know people who refuse are often subjected to abuse, assault, captivity or even worse. This is a serious abuse of human rights and has no place in 21st century Scotland."

 

Jasvinder Sanghera wins national award

3rd November 2010

Jasvinder Sanghera, founder of Derby charity Kama Nirvana which supports survivors of forced marriage and honour-based violence, has been given a national award.

Jasvinder has first-hand experience of forced marriage, running away from home at the age of 15 to escape from a marriage she did not consent to. Her sister, Robina, tragically committed suicide to escape from her forced marriage.

Now, Jasvinder's work has been recognised at Cosmopolitan Magazine's Woman of the Year Awards, where she won the Ultimate Woman's Woman Award. She said 'For me, it reminds me that my decisions have been the right ones. There are things I can't change, like running away from home and being disowned by my family, and my sister's suicide.'

'This award means a lot to me. My hope is it will bring to the fore the issues on which my charity campaigns.'

Jasvinder set up the charity Kama Nirvana in the mid 1990s, which created the 'Honour Network' helpline. The vital service receives 400 calls a month.

Louise Court, editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, called Jasvinder 'an inspiration.'

Natalie Deacon, head of PR at Avon said 'Jasvinder's heroic story of female empowerment is a real inspiration to us all.'

 

German goverment proposes making Forced Marriage a crime

28th October 2010

Germany's government have proposed making forced marriage a crime, punishable with up to five years in prison.

"Forced marriages are a serious problem in Germany," said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. He added that by criminalizing forced marriage, Germany would be making it clear that it is not "a tradition from olden times or different cultures that is...tolerable."

Forced marriage is particularly prevalent amongst the large Turkish and Arabic communities in Germany. While there are no official statistics on the number of forced marriages taking place, various rights groups have noticed that increasing numbers of young immigrants are identifying with Western values and rejecting the tradition.

The government also proposed plans to modify an existing immigration law, which currently poses restrictions on immigrants who are forced into marriages abroad. As it stands, such immigrants lose their residency status in Germany if they are kept out for more than six months.

The new law would mean that these so-called 'vacation brides' would be able to return to Germany regardless of how long they have been overseas, as long as they have lived in Germany for eight years and attended school for six years. For those who have not spent as much time in Germany there may also be allowances made, if they are well integrated into German society.

However, German human rights organisation Forum Menschenrechte said that these legal changes would not be enough, as they would not protect a woman who is brought from Turkey and forced to marry a Turkish immigrant.

If such women manage to get a divorce within three years, they are automatically deported to their home country, unless they can prove that they suffered abuse within their relationship.

 

Criminalise Forced Marriage, says Scottish Lawyer

20th September 2010

Men who knowingly marry women who have been forced into the marriage should be criminalised, according to John Fotheringham, a well-known Scottish lawyer. Fotheringham, a consultant at Fyfe Ireland Solicitors, who specialise in matrimonial law, said: 'The literal shotgun marriage - marry this man or we'll kill you - is extremely rare. What is more likely is marry this man or we'll withdraw your university funding, or your mother will kill herself, or you'll bring shame on the family. That is still a forced marriage.'

The issue of forced marriage is growing in Scotland. A representative of Hermat Gryffe womens' aid, who provide specialist support to women from minority communities, agreed that there should be new legislation regarding forced marriage: 'It's very important. We supported 14 women last year, most of whom are quite young, aged 16 to 21. They suddenly find papers saying they're going to another country, or the wedding starts getting discussed amongst the family. However, you cannot criminalise the family because then the women will not come forward. They won't want their parents or aunts and uncles put in jail. The purpose of the bill must be to impose civil order, to prevent the marriage going ahead.'

 

15th December 2010