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Posts Tagged ‘haloproject’

Forest Gate students organise forced marriage campaign

Everyone should have a choice in who they marry. That was the message at Azhar Academy Girls School, who arranged a forced marriage campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

Guest speakers at the school in Romford Road, Forest Gate, included representatives from the government’s Forced Marriage Unit and the Sharan project, which helps vulnerable women from south Asian communities.

Also speaking at the event was Cmdr Mak Chishty, the highest-ranking Muslim police officer in the UK.

Part of the afternoon saw girls and guests alike write statements on why they are against forced marriage, which were then put on display in the school.

They also learnt about the signs of forced marriage and where to go for support should they or a friend find themselves at risk.

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Oscars 2016: Winning filmmaker gives powerful speech about honour killings in Pakistan

Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy made a powerful speech at the #Oscars last night, after winning the award for best documentary short. But rather than using the platform to gush thanks, Obaid-Chinoy took the chance to speak out about the topic of her film: #honourkillings.

The practice – where men kill their own female family members for ‘dishonouring’ them, typically by having relationships they disapprove of – is particularly common in Pakistan.

Obaid-Chinoy’s film A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness shines a light on such killings. It tells the story of Saba Qaiser, a real young woman in Pakistan who survived attempted murder by her father and uncle after she married someone they felt ‘dishonoured’ the family.

Her film has garnered international attention, leading officials in Pakistan to promise they will work to end the illegal practice.

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Activist filmmaker will shoot controversial movie about child marriage in Bay Ridge

The picture is about a Yemeni girl who is forced to marry an old man and later raped by members of his family. Filmmaker Christhian Andrews hopes to use it as a teaser to raise money from the United Nations for a longer film on forced marriage and child abuse.


It must have been his lucky day.

A filmmaker who was searching for a young actress to star in a potentially controversial and difficult movie ran into the right person at the right time.

Christhian Andrews was literally walking the streets of Bay Ridge last month, approaching Arabic speakers and asking them whether they had a daughter who wanted to be in a movie.

As fate would have it, the second man Andrews approached was Saeed Alabsi, a restaurant worker who spent years working at ADRA International, an agency operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church to provide education, development assistance and disaster relief around the world. “We were very lucky,” said Andrews, 24, who is set to begin filming his picture about a Yemeni girl who is forced to marry an old man and later raped by members of his family, next week.

Alabsi said he took an immediate interest in the project and decided he wanted to help. “I’ve seen this with my own eyes,” said Alabsi, 56, who became sensitive about the issue after seeing girls married to men who were sometimes 60 years their senior.

He went home and told his 15-year-old daughter Nadya, who accepted the lead role in the film. “I want people to get educated,” said Nadya, who came to Brooklyn with her family five months ago from Yemen. “I want people to understand that what they’re doing is wrong.”


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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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Pakistan: Christian Sisters in Hiding After Kidnap and Forced Religious Conversion Attempts

Washington DC: February 1, 2014. (PCP) Responsible for Equality and Liberty R.E.A.L has received a report of the human rights violations of two women in Lahore, Pakistan. International human rights sources have advised that Christian sisters, “Hina” and “Marina” from Lahore have gone into hiding, after attempts by Islamist extremist to kidnap them, to force marriage on them, and to forcefully convert them to deny their Christian religion.

Mr. Jeffrey Imm, CEO of R.E.A.L said “In accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Responsible for Equality And Liberty continues to support the universal human rights, religious liberty, and freedom for all people, including religious minorities oppressed in Pakistan. We urge the Pakistan authorities to drop any charges against minority Christians being oppressed, harassed, and threatened, including these two Christian sisters, who have reportedly been threatened by attempts at abduction, forced marriage, and forced religious conversion. Responsible for Equality And Liberty also calls for the Pakistan government to end the oppressive blasphemy law used to oppress and harass religious minorities and so many other individuals. Responsible for Equality And Liberty also calls upon on our colleagues in human rights organizations to share this story and call for human rights protection for these sisters”


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Syrian refugees forced to let Lebanese landlord marry their 14-year-old daughter because they cannot afford the rent

A 14-year-old girl who escaped the bloody fighting in Syria is being forced to marry a 44-year-old stranger in exchange for her family’s safe refuge across the border.

Hanifa Amar’s parents say they can no longer afford the $250 (£150) monthly rent at a house they fled to in neighbouring Lebanon. The landlord has agreed to let them stay, but only if Hanifa becomes his second wife.Wiping away tears, Hanifa told Al Jazeera: ‘My whole life is destroyed. I don’t want to marry him, but if I do my family can stay in this house.’

The teenager had hoped to marry her 22-year-old cousin, but he died fighting in Syria last year. Instead, she now has to take desperate measures to help her family survive after they were threatened with eviction. Her mother, Mysa, says they cannot risk moving into a tent because her husband suffers from heart problems and she fears her asthmatic son could die in the bitter cold.

Her other son, who is 12, earns the little money they have by helping a mechanic, but this is barely enough to pay for food. Mrs Amar said: ‘No mother wants to hurt her child, but we have no choice.’

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Londoners are ‘morally ambiguous’ about forced marriage, experts warn

Too many young Londoners are  “morally ambiguous” about forced marriage and must be taught about human rights, campaigners warned today.

A new study of the views of young people from immigrant families found some believe forced marriage can be “good” for women and is done with their best interests at heart.

Researchers found that while the same group of young Londoners are against female genital mutilation, there is more acceptance of  forced marriage.

Naana Otoo-Oyortey, executive director of the charity FORWARD, which commissioned the report, said many people still support the supposed reasons why forced marriage happens, such as protecting virginity.

The report concluded that raising awareness of “the absolute nature of human rights” is vital in combatting both forced marriage and FGM. Ms Otoo-Oyortey said: “Notions of chastity were very strong even among those who say they are liberal”, and forced marriage was seen as “an acceptable way of stopping girls being  promiscuous.”

She added that people are now more willing to speak about female genital mutilation, but that forced marriage is the “new taboo.” Researchers questioned a group of 18- to 30-year-olds living in London whose families are from countries where FGM and forced marriage occur, including Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria.

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700 calls made to forced marriage charity in the Midlands

A charity which helps victims of forced marriage and honour abuse has started a pilot project at a school in Yorkshire, to help teachers spot the warning signs. Karma Nirvana was founded by Jasvinder Sanghera from Derby, after she was disowned by her family for refusing to marry.

The charity receives calls for help from hundreds of victims across the country and says cities in the Midlands are hotspots for potential victims.

Almost 430 calls were made to the charity from the West Midlands last year:

  • 193 from Birmingham
  • 151 from Stoke-on-Trent
  • 84 from Walsall

Over 270 calls were made to the charity from the East Midlands last year:

  • 120 from Derby
  • 98 from Nottingham
  • 56 from Leicester

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Three expat sisters refuse to board plane to avoid forced marriage

The girls told the police they were born and lived in the UAE and were scared that their newly married father would force them to marry in Mauritania. 

Three young Mauritanian sisters who refused to travel to their home country because they feared being forced into marriage, were put up in the Dubai Women and Children’s Foundation after the General Department of Human Rights intervened.

The flight on which the girls were to travel on Tuesday was delayed as they refused to board the plane, but the situation was later resolved after the girls agreed that they would be accompanied by their estranged mother to their home country to live. Dr Mohammed Al Murr of the General Department of Human Rights said that an employee of the Immigration Department at the Dubai Police informed the Women and Children’s Protection Department of the Dubai Police about the three girls, aged 21, 15, and 12, who were allegedly being forced to travel back home to stay with other family members there.

The three girls told the police they were born in the UAE and spent their life here and were scared that their father would force them to marry in Mauritania. Their father, who has been in the UAE for 30 years, tried to send the girls back to their home country as he had recently married a new woman in Dubai, and said he couldn’t cope looking after her children as well as his own. Upon refusing to board the plane, the girls said they did not know their father’s family well enough and were scared to go and live with them.

The girls’ mother, who the father had divorced some years back, was living in Tanzania where she too married another man, but later divorced him.

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