Posts Tagged ‘bride’

How Australia can help end child marriage in Bangladesh

Rahela* married at age 13, about a year after both of her parents were killed by Cyclone Aila, which struck Bangladesh in 2009. “They had left me at my grandmother’s house. [Our house] was swept away. No one saw their dead bodies,” she said. Rahela went to live with her aunt and uncle but they were struggling to afford education for their own two children. “You know orphans don’t get education,” Rahela said. “My aunt and uncle asked me not to go to school— they said I should work in their house and look after their children.”

 How Australia can help end child marriage in Bangladesh

About a year later, her aunt and uncle arranged a marriage for her. “I can’t really blame them,” Rahela said. “They don’t have enough money to provide for their own children.” When Human Rights Watch interviewed Rahela last year, she was 17 and was struggling to care for her one year old son, saying she’s never recovered her strength after her pregnancy. “I really wanted to continue my education so I could get a job and stand on my own feet.” 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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Forced marriage fear of Preston girl flown to Pakistan

A teenage girl missing since she flew to Pakistan with her younger sisters may have been forced to marry, a High Court judge has heard.

Alyssa Din, 16, and her sisters Safia, five, and Amani, four – all from Preston – have been missing since flying to Karachi via Islamabad in October.

Their parents Ilyas and Mazeley Din were jailed over their disappearance.

Mr Justice Hayden said he was extremely concerned about Alyssa’s welfare.

‘Brainwashed the children’

Mr and Mrs Din were jailed in December for contempt of court for failing to provide details of their children’s whereabouts.

Mr Din, who is in his late 40s, was given a 12-month term and Mrs Din, who is in her 30s, a six-month sentence.


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A new law which explicitly categorises forced marriage as a crime represents a crucial milestone in efforts to protect women’s human rights

The debate around criminalising forced marriage was waging amongst feminist scholars and activists long before David Cameron announced his government intended to make the act of a forcing a person to marry a crime. In 2005-2006, the (then) Labour government’s public consultation on forced marriage gave rise to an often heated and polarising discussion, which centred largely on notions of deterrence. Those in favour of criminalisation argued that a new law would unequivocally convey to relevant parties that forced marriage is wrong and so heinous as to warrant criminal prosecution, while those against held that it would prevent victims from coming forward for fear of getting their families into trouble.


Back then, proposals for criminalisation were defeated largely on the grounds that a new offence would lead to ‘racial segregation’ and create a ‘minority law’. These claims, as I have suggested elsewhere, point to the privileging of multicultural ideals over the protection of women’s rights that often occurs in Western states. The expected passage this month, however, of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Bill – which includes a section criminalising forced marriage – means that feminist debate on this topic is more intense than ever. Echoing earlier debates, a number of prominent women’s organisations, activists and feminist theorists are opposing the legislation, claiming that it will deter victims from seeking help and legal redress.


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Man may get life for teen forced marriage

Cape Town – Abducted and forced into marriage before being raped several times – this is what happened to a 14-year-old girl at the hands of a Philippi man.

On Monday morning – more than two years after the girl’s ordeal – Mvuleni Jezile, who was convicted for sexually assaulting the Eastern Cape teenager, is due to be sentenced in the Western Cape’s first case of ukuthwala: the traditional practice of kidnapping a young woman in an attempt to force marriage negotiations.

During earlier court proceedings, it emerged that the 30-year-old man had married the pupil in the Eastern Cape without her or her mother’s consent.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said the marriage had been arranged between the girl’s uncle, grandmother and her rapist’s family in 2011.

The court was told Jezile had tried to have sex with the girl, but she refused. He beat her with sticks then threw her into a taxi bound for the Western Cape.

IOL ca p7 Mvuleni Jezile done

Once there, he held her hostage at his home in Brown’s Farm where he raped her several times.

During his first court appearance in the Wynberg Regional Court in February 2012, Jezile pleaded not guilty before magistrate Delena Grewenstein.

But he was convicted in November, after he was found guilty on six counts including three cases of rape, human trafficking and assault.

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Is the law in Yemen moving closer to a ban on child marriage?

(WNN/EQ) Amman, JORDAN, WESTERN ASIA: The Human Rights Ministry of Yemen has confirmed that one of its officials has helped to prevent the wedding of a 12-year-old girl, which was due to take place earlier this month. Hiba was to be married in Taiz, Southern Yemen, but the official notified local police who ensured an immediate divorce. There have been reports too of similar interventions taking place in other parts of the country.

With no minimum age of marriage in Yemen, while Hiba and others are out of danger for the moment, without any legal sanctions to support them, these girls remain at serious risk.

However, things may be about to change at last. The Human Rights Ministry, under Hooria Mashhour’s strong leadership, has put child marriage at the top of its agenda. This ministry has been responsible for putting pressure on other members of government to ensure that a minimum age of marriage draft bill is introduced at the next opportunity as part of the ‘National Dialogue’, the process which has followed the country’s recent political uprising.

Two young Yemeni girls

Fouad Al Ghaffari from the Ministry has indicated that this bill might be introduced by the Minister of Legal Affairs in the very near future. It will probably be based on a 2009 bill, which had proposed fixing the minimum age of marriage for girls at age 17. This was initially backed by Yemeni women and children’s rights organizations, but in late 2010, it was effectively blocked by traditional and religious leaders and the parliament’s Shariah committee. It is hoped that there will be more support on this occasion, but it is far from certain.


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Honour-based violence campaigner honoured by Blackburn College

LEADING campaigner against honour based violence has been recognised by Blackburn College.

Saima Afzal MBE was given an Honorary Fellowship by the college which she hopes will help to inspire other women to follow in her footsteps. The 42-year-old Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire has come a long way since she escaped a violent forced marriage in her twenties.

She was awarded an MBE in 2010 for her Services to Policing and Community Relations. At the formal event at Blackburn College to receive her honour she said the building brought back positive memories for her. A former student, she studied both a Diploma in Public Administration and then a BA (Hons) degree in Criminology. Growing up, she said having local access to higher education was a ‘lifeline’ for her.

She said: “I am so proud as this recognition shows I am actually making a difference and people are noticing me. “This will present me with more opportunities to help those woman who need it and give them a hand which I never had. “Growing up, it was a struggle. I had a forced marriage and I had a child,” said Saima, who still lives in Blackburn. “I couldn’t travel too far afield to study culturally, and I also couldn’t afford to, and was lucky that Blackburn College helped me. I could work before and after college but I was always late for classes due to child minding. The tutors knew my circumstances though and they worked around me.”

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‘I was forced into marrying my relative … and there was nowhere to go, no way out’

A Scots woman forced into marrying a relative in Pakistan against her will while still a teenager has spoken for the first time of the abuse she has suffered.

Sara, who still fears for her life if her true identity or whereabouts are revealed, was beaten, threatened and coerced until she agreed to leave university and travel to Pakistan with her parents. She made her decision to speak out as support agencies revealed a surge in the reported numbers of women fleeing forced marriage.

Sara, not her real name, was taken out of university because she was seen ??talking to boys??	Photograph: Mark Mainz

According to a new report, women’s support agencies in Scotland have seen a surge in the numbers of cases reported since new legislation to deal with forced marriage was introduced in 2011 by the Scottish Parliament. Since the new law was introduced some support agencies have seen their referrals double. Under the legislation courts in Scotland can issue protection orders specifically tailored to a victim’s needs, for example by ensuring they are taken to a place of safety or by helping those in danger of being taken abroad for marriage. Breaching such an order is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine, a two-year prison sentence or both. Mridul Wadhwa, information and education officer at Shakti Women’s Aid, said: “The numbers of reports of forced marriage in Scotland have gone up significantly.

“The referrals from people who suspect forced marriage has also increased, but we still need more agencies – particularly schools and universities – to pick up on the warning signs and notify the authorities earlier.” Despite the constant threat of violence hanging over her, Sara has taken the decision to speak out because she wants other young people to know it is possible to escape such situations.


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Australian Research Council rejects funding to research growing problem of forced marriages

CRUCIAL funding to research the growing problem of teenage forced marriages was rejected by the under-fire Australian Research Council.

The federal and NSW governments have both questioned the decision to reject funding for the study, saying they fear child-bride marriages are far more common than previously thought. Associate Professor Jennifer Burn from the University of Technology, Sydney and Director of Anti-Slavery Australia, said she applied for funding to explore the issue of forced marriages in NSW, but her application was “knocked back” by the Council earlier this year.

No money to save our child brides

Child bride reveals the dark secret of unspoken crime in Sydney 

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has been accused by the newly-elected federal government of “wasteful” spending on unnecessary projects. This includes grants for research into how people could adapt to climate change through public art, and another project into the meaning of “I” involving a retrospective study of 18th and 19th century German existentialists. Ms Burn said the area of forced marriages was under-researched and her project sought to quantify how prevalent it was in the community. “There’s a lot of work to be done,” Ms Burn told The Sunday Telegraph, adding that in NSW it was widely suspected to be a much bigger problem than on paper.

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Kerala: minor forced to marry Saudi national, abandoned after honeymoon

In yet another case of forcing a minor Muslim girl into wedlock with Arab nationals in Kerala, a 17-year-old girl has approached the Child Welfare Committee alleging that the orphanage authorities, where she had been staying, forced her to marry a man from Saudi Arabia. In her complaint to the committee on Friday, the girl had alleged that the orphanage authorities “pressurised” her to marry the man, who deserted her after honeymooning for 17 days and returned to his country. The Child Welfare Committee chairman in Malappuram, Sherrief Ullath, said according to the girl the marriage took place on June 13.

 The orphanage authorities forced her to marry the Saudi national against her wishes. The Child Welfare Committee authorities said they have forwarded the girl’s complaint to the police, who has registered cases under Prohibition of Child Marriage Act-2006, the Juvenile Justice Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
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