close hide page

Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

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.

Read More:

Forced Marriage Campaign: Seasonal Reminder Ahead of Easter School Holidays

Ahead of the start of the school Easter holiday, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and West Yorkshire Police is reminding people of the signs to look out for of forced marriage and honour-based violence.

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used.

The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence) or emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (taking your wages or not giving you any money) can also be a factor.

From June 2014, it became a crime to force someone to marry against their will.

Over the school holidays intelligence suggests that there tends to be an increase in forced marriages. In the run up to, and over the easter holidays, officers are working with schools, airport staff and the wider community in raising awareness of the signs to spot that someone may be being forced to marry against their will or be a victim of honour-based violence.

Read More:

No freewill 708 children fell prey to forced marriages in 2013

KARACHI: At least 708 boys and girls fell prey to forced and early marriages in Pakistan in the year 2013, which included 264 such cases in Punjab, 199 in Sindh, 143 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 102 cases in Balochistan, said the founder of Madadgaar Helpline, Zia Ahmed Awan at a roundtable conference titled, ‘Addressing Gender Base Violence: Focusing on early and forced marriages in Pakistan’, at Madadgaar Helpline office on Friday.

Awan said that 684 cases of forced and early marriages were reported in 2012. Around 276 forced marriage cases were reported in 2012, which increased up to 284 in the year 2013. He said these were the cases reported in media but the exact figures would be far more than this. Awan highlighted national and international laws that forbid parents and couples to get married before they attain the age of 18 years. Pakistan is signatory to the international charters that forbid it.

Read More:

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.

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.

Read More:

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.


Read More:

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”


Read More:

Pupils missing after school holidays shows big increase in district

The number of children who go missing during school holidays is on the rise, the Telegraph & Argus can reveal.

New data shows 96 children failed to return to school as expected after the long summer break last year, the highest number in three years and a 55 per cent rise on the previous year’s figure.

More than half of the children – 54 of them – were still unaccounted for a month later, despite the efforts of the local authority to trace them or their families. The Telegraph & Argus requested Bradford’s figures for the past three years under the Freedom of Information Act.

Each year, many children reported missing from school rolls turn out to have moved to a different school but other children and their families are never traced. Campaigners fear some of them could have been taken overseas by their families to be forced into marriages. The authority’s education boss, Councillor Ralph Berry, said the rise could be down to the increasing number of Eastern European migrants, who could be moving back to their countries of origin without telling their children’s schools. He said: “In many cases it’s a family that has moved and neglected to tell us.

Read More:

Police reveal rise in cases of honour-based violence

Chief Reporter

Cases of honour-based violence and forced marriage in Scotland are rising as a result of increased public awareness, according to police.

Speaking at a conference at the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan, Clackmannanshire, Detective Chief Superintendent Gill Imery, the lead on public protection for Police Scotland, said there had been an increase in cases of honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation across the country.

Honour-based violence often involves people who believe family members have brought shame on them by behaving in a way that contradicts their traditional beliefs, such as marrying someone from a different religion.

It mostly affects girls and women but can also affect male family members.

Figures show that in Edinburgh alone there have been 19 cases of honour-based violence and six of forced marriage dealt with by the police between January and November this year. Last year, in the full 12 months, there were 23 cases of honour-based violence and one of forced marriage.

Not all of these cases would have resulted in a report to the procurator fiscal but might have involved removing or relocating the adult or child at risk.

Figures also show police have dealt with nine of female genital mutilation (FGM) across Scotland this year, against none last year, following revelations in The Herald last month that families have brought their daughters to Scotland to undergo the practice because the country is seen as a “soft touch”. Outlawed in the UK in 1985, the practice takes many forms but traditionally involves the full or partial removal of young girls’ genitals.

There is increasing concern that these “hidden” crimes go unpunished.

In August, Mohammed Riaz Inayat, 56, was imprisoned for 22 years for murdering his wife and injuring his three daughters in an “honour” crime. He deliberately set fire to his house in Birmingham to stop his daughter from flying to Dubai to marry her boyfriend because he believed it would bring dishonour to the family.

Detective Chief Superintendent Imery said: “We are getting much better at recognising honour-based violence. We are seeing an increase in incidents being recorded as confidence in coming forward increases. Since the formation of Police Scotland our approach has significantly improved. Awareness is improving nationally and we are starting to get the messages out there.

“We are holding the conference because we want to improve Police Scotland’s understanding of these issues. We want to enhance the understanding of not just police but all the agencies involved.”

DCS Imery also called for a civil remedy for female genital mutilation – akin to the one on forced marriage that the Scottish Government is considering amending.

She added: “I think it would be a fantastic idea to have a preventative order for FGM. I think forced marriage protection orders are a good parallel. I would far rather prevent these things from happening than solely having a crime prosecuted.”

Women’s support agencies in Scotland say they have also seen a surge in the numbers of cases of forced marriage and honour-based violence since new legislation was introduced in 2011.

Since the law was introduced some support agencies have seen their referrals double. Scotland has had eight forced marriage prevention orders. However, the Scottish Government now plans to criminalise forced marriage, despite opposition from specialist support agencies who warn it will drive the practice underground because children do not want to criminalise parents.

Under the current legislation, courts in Scotland can issue protection orders that aim to prevent forced marriage.


Woman with IQ of 49 ‘was targeted for sham marriage’

A young woman with learning difficulties was “deliberately targeted” for a sham marriage to bolster a man’s immigration case, a High Court judge has ruled.  A wedding ceremony was found to be invalid and declared a “non-marriage” in the Court of Protection case. The 19-year-old woman, known only as SY to protect her identity, has an IQ of just 49 with a learning disability that leaves her “extremely vulnerable”. A 23-year-old man from Pakistan, known as TK, approached her for a relationship in August 2011, just two months after he had exhausted all appeal rights in his immigration case. In June 2012 there was a purported Islamic marriage ceremony at his home but no legal registration of the marriage took place.

Mr Justice Keehan said in a written ruling: “I can reach no other conclusion than he deliberately targeted SY because of her learning difficulties and her vulnerability. The courts will not tolerate such gross exploitation.”

TK lost his final legal bid to stay in the UK in July 2012. He had used the marriage as the basis of an appeal against his asylum refusal, saying that he feared his family would kill him if he returned home, since his new ‘wife’ was white British.

Justice Keehan said: “It is plain on the facts of this case, especially taking account of the immigration judgement handed down on 17 July 2012 in respect of TK’s asylum appeal, that TK exploited and took advantage of SY for the purpose of seeking to bolster his immigration appeal and his prospects of being permitted to remain in this country.”

The tribunal judge at TK’s immigration appeal said of his ‘marriage’ to SY: “The relationship, if there is one, does not have the necessary qualities of commitment, depth and intimacy to demonstrate family life.” He later added: “viewed objectively her best interests are likely to be served by there being no further interference by [TK] and his friends”.

Brought up in foster care for much of her life, SY now lives in a specialist residential home with five other people. The Court of Protection was asked by SY’s local authority to rule on whether it could make decisions on her behalf and what was in her best interests.

She has been known to the council since 2005, when she was just 11 and there were concerns about her missing school and staying overnight at older men’s homes. The judge described “numerous incidents” involving SY being known to local authority over the years, including underage sexual relations, physical and sexual assaults including alleged rapes and witnessing domestic violence.


Read More: