Posts Tagged ‘australia’

Australia’s first female genital mutilation trial: how a bright young girl convinced a jury

Emma* is 11 and uses phrases like “the best that I am able” when asked by an adult if she will answer their questions. Strikingly intelligent, the western Sydney daughter of African and Indian migrants can recall in vivid detail everything that happened on a recent school excursion, right down to the detailing on pottery she saw.

So when she was called to give evidence against her mother in the supreme court, Emma was a reliable witness.

She testified in a landmark Australian case which centred around what happened to her in a room, about an hour away from her home, on an unspecified date which is likely to have been when she was seven years old.

Emma and her sister Caroline* were the – at times unwilling and overwhelmed – protagonists in the first female genital mutilation (FGM) trial in Australia, which has been playing out for the past nine weeks.

Shabbir Mohammedbhai Vaziri, who was convicted in a landmark female genital mutilation court case in Sydney this week.


The sisters were born two years apart into the Dawoodi Bohra Shia Muslim community. Their path to the supreme court to give evidence while their mother sat in the dock began in 2012 when police officers arrived at their school asking to interview them.

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INU : On Thursday, The Guardian reported that members of the Australian public had begun rallying support for an Iranian asylum seeker who is facing deportation after her claim was denied by the Australian government. The Australian immigration minister, Peter Dutton has reportedly begun reviewing the case personally.

Mojgan Shamsalipoor fled Iran for Australia as a teenager in 2012 in order to escape sexual abuse and forced marriage to a man in his 60s. Now 21 years old, she has since married a permanent resident of Australia, and she was in the process of completing her high school education in Brisbane when she was forcibly taken to a detention center to await probable deportation.

Shamsalipoor’s advocates now argue that she must be allowed to file a new visa application while still on Australian soil, out of fear that her life would be in danger if forced to return to Iran. Her story thus serves to highlight the human rights situation in Iran as it relates both to restrictions on the rights of women and to the treatment of persons who are considered political dissenters or affiliates of the West.

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Boys marrying as young as 7 in Nepal: CARE

As Fathers across Australia awake on Sunday to appreciative offspring bearing gifts, they could spare a thought for the child grooms of Nepal who can be as young as seven.

Child marriage is mostly an issue for young girls but a new report by CARE Australia says it can also be a problem for young boys. That can lead to psychological trauma and high rates of dropping out of school to support their new families, it found.

 In most places where child marriage is common, older men wed younger girls. But in parts of western Nepal, boys and girls are often forced to marry each other.

CARE said these pre-teen children went through wedding ceremonies, then lived apart for a few years. When boys reached their early teens, the couples moved in together with the expectation of starting a family.

Police are investigating dozens of suspected #forcedmarriages in Australia… and almost all of them involve girls younger than 18 – and one who is just NINE

The Australian Federal Police are investigating the allegations, adding to the other 33 other cases they are looking into across the country since forced marriages were criminalised in 2013. In the past 12 months, a total of 28 referrals have been received by AFP and 21 have been further investigated, according to a statement provided to Daily Mail Australia.

A nine-year-old girl has allegedly been forced into marriage. This is one of 34 cases AFP are investigating

Out of the 42 reports police had received from the community about suspected cases of forced marriages, they had whittled them down to 34 to pursue further.

Almost 30 of the cases had been involved a child under 18 years of age.

An AFP spokeswoman confirmed officers were looking into the suspected case of the nine-year-old but no more information could be provided as investigations were ongoing.

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Suspected forced marriage of nine-year-old girl under investigation

There are fears a nine-year-old Sydney girl has been taken out of Australia to be married overseas.

The federal justice minister, Michael Keenan, says he is investigating reports the girl will be married in the Middle East.

“We’re very keen to … make sure that if somebody is to come across this type of crime that they know how to go about helping that person to report it to authorities so we can do something about it,” he told the ABC.

Pru Goward

The NSW minster for women, Pru Goward, has said parents must be told child marriages are illegal. Photograph: Daniel Munoz/AAP

The NSW minister for women, Pru Goward, said parents needed to know it was illegal to take their child overseas for a forced marriage.

“Certainly the person who ‘married’ the girl can be prosecuted and it is just an unacceptable part of life in Australia,” she told Macquarie Radio on Tuesday.

The Immigrant Women’s Health Service in western Sydney was tipped off about the case.


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Advocates call for forced marriage education in schools

Each year 14 million girls are forced into marriage according to the children’s charity Plan. While it often occurs in African and South Asian countries, it’s still an issue in Australia.

Forced marriage has been illegal in Australia for 12 months, following amendments to the Slavery Act last year.

The Slavery Act now recognises forced marriage as a serious form of exploitation and is punishable with up to seven years imprisonment.  Dr Eman Sharobeem was forced to marry when she was 15 years old. She’s since devoted her life to helping others avoid the same fate. Speaking at a forum at the NSW parliament, she says simply changing the law isn’t enough.

“I didn’t see it yet. I didn’t see the change,” she said. “I didn’t see that having a piece of… some words embedded in legislation changed the community understanding.”

“My call is about education and learning, not to see the parents of the victim locked up behind bars. I’m happy that we have changes to the legislation but at the same time we need to tackle the issue from its core.”

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Shame of our child brides: Court hears how woman was raped and beaten as it’s revealed hundreds are forced into arranged and unregistered marriages across NSW

A 14-YEAR-OLD girl was forced into an Islamic marriage with a western Sydney drug gang member who raped and beat her and later physically abused their daughter.

Details of the now 25-year old victim’s ordeal surfaced in the Federal Circuit Court where the victim was fighting to have the man banned from seeing their daughter.

This Sydney woman spoke out last year after being married off as a child bride.

So appalling was the woman’s life of abuse, which included claims that her father told her she could only leave her marriage “in a coffin”, that Judge Joseph Harman made an unprecedented public appeal in his judgment for authorities to act.

The story came to light after the Daily Telegraph reported the arrest of a man who had been living with a 12-year-old as his wife in Sydney. The imam who married the pair, Riaz Tasawar, was yesterday arrested by police.

“Upon publication of these reasons and should any agency wish to investigate matters … they are in a position to make application to the court for leave to inspect the file and obtain material,” he said.

That would include the child dispute conference memo in which an admission is made by the father in the following terms: “The father admitted that he knew at the time of the Islamic marriage to the mother that she was 14 years of age.”

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Australia: Forced Underage Marriage Is Common

Forced marriages of underage girls might be commonplace in certain communities in Sydney, according to the NSW Minister for Community Services, Pru Goward, who spoke yesterday following the arrest of a 26-year-old man charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. The man, who for legal reasons cannot be named, allegedly met the then 12-year-old in the Hunter region in 2012 and became involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with her, with the pair then allegedly moving to a house in Sydney’s southwest.

Australia - Forced underage marriage is common

Police claim the man and child were married in a religious ceremony last month. Appearing in court yesterday speaking through an Arabic-language interpreter, he made no application for bail, which was formally refused. It is believed that the case came to light when the girl went to Centrelink seeking assistance for the man to obtain a visa.

Centrelink notified the Department of Community Services and the police and the girl was removed and put into care. Ms Goward said she was horrified by the case. “I think we are all extremely distressed, and I expect the full force of the law will be brought in this case.

“The message is very simple. Whatever the cultural practice, whatever the religious practice, there is no law in Australia above Australian law.

“In this country, little girls have rights, and in particular they have the right to their childhood free of this sort of abuse.”

Ms Goward said there were a significant number of unlawful, unregistered marriages to underage girls in NSW, underage forced marriages, but it was difficult to say how many as the practice was kept secret. “This is not an unknown practice and indeed might be quite common in particular areas of southwest Sydney, western Sydney and the Blue Mountains,” she said.


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Focus on child marriage in Australia

The issue of forced marriages is back in the spotlight in Australia, following reports that an imam in New South Wales allegedly married a 12-year-old girl to a 26-year-old man. The imam’s been charged with solemnisation of a marriage by an unauthorised person, while the 26-year-old has been charged with multiple counts of having sex with a child.

But as Erdem Koc reports, it highlights the complexity of the dealing with the issue. While child marriage is often associated with countries in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, it’s also a custom which is practised in some communities in Australia.The case of a New South Wales imam being charged with marrying an underage girl to an adult male has prompted calls for more awareness to be raised about the issue.

Authorities say the girl has been placed in foster care, and the man, who is of a Lebanese background, has been refused bail. New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell has welcomed the charge against the imam.

“I’m delighted charges have been laid against the celebrant who allegedly solemnised this wedding that was clearly illegal. We have rules in this country, in this state, about those who celebrate marriages, whether they’re religious celebrants or civil celebrants, and those rules say people have to be over the age of 18 unless a court has decided otherwise.”

In 2013, the federal parliament passed legislation making the coercing of someone into marriage a serious crime, punishable by up to seven years in prison.

The change was welcomed by child advocacy groups, but they say it still doesn’t go far enough.

The chief executive of the Australian Childhood Foundation, Joe Tucci, says the message needs to be communicated clearly.


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