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Archive for January, 2016

Authorities are more interested in being PC than stopping forced marriages, equality chief says

David Cameron’s equality “tsar” has blamed liberal “hand-wringing” and political correctness for preventing abuse in the name of multi-culturalism.

Louise Casey suggested abuses such as forced marriage were being allowed to continue because some officials are more interested in PC language.

Ms Casey, who is leading a Government review of opportunities and segregation among ethnic minorities, indicated that British authorities suffer from a hesitancy to tackle deep-seated problems in some ethnic minority communities.

“Take forced marriage. We let some of that happen because we’re so politically correct in wanting our multi-cultural Britain we forget to talk about equality,” she said.

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Ireland to outlaw forced marriage

The Republic of Ireland is set to introduce a new law which criminalises forced marriage.

New legislation proposed by the Department of Justice would make “intentional conduct of luring an adult or a child . . . with the purpose of forcing [them] to enter into a marriage” an indictable offense. There is currently no specific prohibition against the practice in Irish law.

The new law is expected to be enacted by the end of next year, the Irish Times reports. It will come as part of a new government strategy to deal with sexual, domestic and gender-based violence.

Other proposed policies include the abolition of exemptions for underage marriages. Currently, people under the age of 18 can marry in Ireland with a ‘Court Exemption Order’. To get one, the couple must demonstrate that their marriage is in their best interests. The Department of Justice hopes that eliminating these orders will also reduce the number of forced marriages.

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Courts step in to stop nine-year-old girl from being sent to Afghanistan to marry her cousin, 18

Police and social workers stepped in to stop a nine-year-old girl from being sent to Afghanistan to marry an 18-year-old cousin, a judge heard.

The girl’s mother had told social services staff that her father was planning the trip, Mr Justice MacDonald heard. Another judge had made both parents the subject of forced marriage protection orders after child protection specialists began legal moves.

Orders barred the couple from ‘permitting’ the girl to ‘undergo marriage’. Detail of the case has emerged in a ruling by Mr Justice MacDonald following a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

The girl had been temporarily taken into local authority care in the wake of her mother’s allegation

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Tackling Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in London

I was shocked when I heard that London accounted for over half the number of female genital mutilation (FGM) cases recorded nationwide.

Data released in December showed 758 new incidents were reported in our capital between July and September alone, with 1,385 flagged across the rest of the country.

FGM is a practice that would seem out of place in the dark ages, and yet it is being inflicted on young people living in our city today. Its frequency is a worrying phenomenon that cannot be ignored. Yet despite its apparent prevalence in the UK, not a single conviction for the illegal practice has ever been achieved.

We as politicians need to recognise and act on this disparity between the number of barbaric and life-changing acts being committed and the complete absence of accountability for the perpetrators.

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Forced marriage to be made illegal under new strategy

Ireland will introduce a specific offence of forced marriage as part of the Government’s new strategy for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, it has been announced.

The issue of forced marriage is not currently dealt with directly by Irish law but the proposed offence category, which may become active by the end of next year, will target the “intentional conduct of luring an adult or a child . . . with the purpose of forcing [them] to enter into a marriage”.

The strategy further clarifies that any new offence of luring a person abroad for a forced marriage “would need to be indictable”. The Department of Justice has already announced plans to abolish exemptions for underage marriages, which is expected to have the additional benefit of protecting minors against forced marriage. The move comes after the UK introduced laws for cases of forced marriage 18 months ago.

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‘Baby FGM’ court case thrown out due to lack of proof

Prosecutors have ruled out charges over the alleged female genital mutilation of a baby from London after deciding that a police file on the case contains insufficient evidence to put before a court.

The case, which is the latest failed attempt to secure a first ever conviction in this country for carrying out FGM, involved a British child of Malaysian descent thought to have been taken abroad and subjected to “type 4” FGM when only a few months old.

The child’s family is understood to have believed that the procedure, which involves pricking the clitoris, was legal because it is common and lawful in Malaysia, and to have initially admitted the act during a routine medical consultation.

A police investigation was carried out and a file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service setting out details of a potential crime under British legislation.

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U.S. girls, women at risk of FGM

More than half a million women and girls in the United States live at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a threefold increase in recent years due to the rise in immigrants from countries where it is practiced, a government study said on Thursday.

The number of U.S. women and girls who have undergone the actual procedures is unknown, however, due to a lack of reliable data, said the study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report said the estimated 513,000 women and girls at risk were born or have a parent born in a nation where female cutting is a tradition.  The ancient ritual, often shrouded in secrecy and widely condemned as a serious violation of women’s rights, causes many health problems which can be fatal.

The study said women and girls with family rooted in Egypt, Ethiopia and Somalia were most commonly found at risk in the United States.

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‘Reconsider forced marriage’ say women’s groups

Women’s groups in Scotland have claimed that criminalisation of forced marriage in Scotland hindered rather than helped efforts to help victims.

The practice, associated with certain cultures, was outlawed north of the border in September 2014, three months after similar legislation appeared in England and Wales. Convictions have followed in England but not in Scotland, the Herald newspaper reports, and not a single individual has been charged. In addition, there has been a drop in the number of victims seeking help since the legislation was enacted – in the case of one group, from 24 referrals in a year to just ten. Victims often tell support groups that they do not wish to get their families into trouble with the police.

Scottish Women’s Aid have now called on Holyrood to reconsider its approach to the issue. Chief Executive Dr Marsha Scott said:

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An award-winning charity, which rescues women from forced marriage and hundreds of young people from radicalisation, faces closure in a matter of months if it does not receive further funding.

Founded in 1989, JAN Trust was originally set up to support marginalised and isolated communities in north London, but has since expanded to reach people across the UK.

However, it only has sufficient funds to keep its services running until March 31 this year.

ajda Mughal, director of the charity, said that their work had “saved lives” and that she would “dread to think” of the consequences if the charity closes down.

“We have worked one-on-one with victims and intervened in cases of honour-based violence within families, FGM (female genital mutilation), forced marriage, and even cases where a woman’s life has been at risk at the hands of her own family.

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