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Archive for April, 2013

UK forced marriage victims much younger than previously thought

Foreign Office reveals cases from Italy, Holland, Australia, Indonesia and Nigeria, with one in five victims a man, and ages ranging from five to 87.

Britain’s forced marriage victims are being coerced to marry in more far flung places and at a much younger age than previously thought.

Last year more than half of the 1,500 cases the Foreign Office dealt with were connected to families in Pakistan, but cases also came from Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Italy, Holland, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Nigeria and Iraq. One in five victims was a man. Ages ranged from five to 87.

In each case of forced marriage, there are often several perpetrators. Yet almost no one is prosecuted in the UK. There is general agreement that forcing a person to marry against their will is a human rights abuse and that the authorities should do everything possible to protect victims from forced marriage. But that’s where the consensus ends. The UK Government is considering whether to make forced marriage a new criminal offence and opinions are divided about the potential risks and benefits.


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‘Honour’ crimes are domestic abuse, plain and simple

There is a very real issue of violence towards women in British Asian society, but let’s not dress it up as something cultural.

This week’s Panorama, Britain’s Crimes of Honour, made for harrowing viewing. In the space of 30 minutes, the programme recounted horrific murders of women in the UK. There was video footage of Banaz Mahmod, the young Iraqi Kurdish woman from south London whose family murdered her and buried her in a suitcase after she was spotted kissing her boyfriend outside a tube station. There was the grieving mother of Laura Wilson, the teenager from Rotherham who was knifed repeatedly by her boyfriend, Ashtiaq Asghar. Then there was the wedding clip of Nosheen Azam, who came to Sheffield from Pakistan as a young bride and was trapped in an abusive marriage. She was found in her back garden, aflame. Nosheen survived but is brain dead, her body badly burnt. No one knows whether she set herself alight to commit suicide or whether it was attempted murder. Her father, who visits her in a care home, wiped tears from his eyes as he recalled telling her not to leave her husband, for the sake of her family’s pride.

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Poverty, ignorance force parents to marry off their daughters early

“I was not interested in marriage at all. But my mother and grandmother forced me to accept. I do not like the bridegroom. I am happy that the district administration has stopped my marriage because I was only around 16,” says a girl from Melapuliyur, who is one of the 167 girls in Perambalur district whose marriage was stopped under the Child Marriage Act 2006.

In most of these marriages, the bridegroom was the relative of the girl, more often than not a cousin. Another common strain is that the parents were hardly educated.

Asked whether they were aware that getting married before the age of 18 was illegal and physically it could lead to complications when marrying at such a young age (even resulting in death at the time of childbirth), most of the girls either confessed ignorance or chose to keep silent.

Similar was the response from the parents too when asked whether they were not risking the life of the girl if she was to be married at a young age. Most of them remained downcast admitting they were at fault. However, a woman said: “I also got married when I was less than 16 and I am perfectly all right. I had no complications at all.” Her worry is “who will marry my daughter whose marriage has been stopped after the betrothal?”


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Egyptian embassy in Yemen rescues girl from forced marriage

The Egyptian embassy in Yemen secured the release of a young Egyptian citizen who was forcibly detained in the home of her foster family in Aden. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the girl’s foster family attempted to force her to marry one of their own relatives.

With the help of the local authorities, the embassy extracted the girl from the house and hosted her temporarily.

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Honour killings, marriage fraud new topics in revamped immigration guide,Canada

The federal government has unveiled a revamped guide to help immigrants settle in Canada — a document that, for the first time, informs newcomers about practices that “will not be tolerated in Canada,” including female genital mutilation, honour crimes and marriage fraud.

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Midwives trained to help forced marriage victims

Midwives in the West Midlands are to be trained by the police to help spot victims of forced marriage and “honour-based violence”.

About 50 Wolverhampton health workers are expected to attend a conference being held to raise awareness of the issues in Wednesfield on Wednesday.

Police hope health professionals will be able to identify potential victims when they meet new and expectant mums.

Midwives will be told to look out for signs of depression or self-harm.


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Afghan women escape marriage through suicide

As many as 80 percent of marriages in Afghanistan take place without the consent of the bride, who is often a child. Many of them see killing themselves as the only way out.

Weddings are one of the few occasions in Afghanistan when families and friends can forget their sorrows and the ongoing violence in their country and have some fun. It is also traditional for the bride to put on a sad face because she is leaving her family; she is not allowed to smile. However, for many brides this is not an act. They really are unhappy at their weddings and not because they are leaving their families but because they are being forced into a marriage against their will.


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Teenager exposes India’s ‘one month wives’ sex tourism

A 17-year-old girl has exposed the scale of Islamic sex tourism in India where Muslim men from the Middle East and Africa are buying ‘one month wives’ for sex.  The victim, Nausheen Tobassum, revealed the scale of the problem when she escaped from her home last month after her parents pressurised her to consummate a forced marriage to a middle aged Sudanese man who had paid around £1,200 for her to be his ‘wife’ for four weeks.

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‘I wish I had died’: Girl struck 15 times with an axe by her BROTHER in attempted ‘honour killing’

A 17-year-old girl whose brother tried to murder her in an ‘honour killing’ said she wishes she had died after surviving an axe attack, disowned by her family for escaping a forced marriage .At the age of 12, Gul Meena was married off to a 60-year-old man instead of being sent to school in Pakistan.Every day he would hit her. She would beg him to stop but he carried on, ignoring her tears. My family would hit me when I complained,’ she told CNN. ‘They told me you belong in your husband’s house – that is your life.’ In November last year, Gul packed a bag and ran away from her husband with a young Afghan man. ‘I’d tried to kill myself with poison several times but it didn’t work,’ she said. ‘I hated my life and I had to escape.

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