Forced marriages continue despite tightened legislation

Graduate student argues there are several major obstacles preventing the government from cracking down on forced marriages

A woman was found dead in Copenhagen this morning (Photo: Heb)
August 2nd, 2012 9:57 am| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Weak legislation is the reason that no-one has been convicted for forcing couples to marry, despite the punishment being doubled by the former government in 2008.

This is the verdict of PhD student, Sabba Mirza, writing in the legal trade journal Justitia, according to Politiken newspaper.

“All the organisations that are working in the field say that there is an increase in the number of arranged marriages. So when there are no cases for the courts then it could indicate that the rules aren’t good enough,” Mirza wrote.

Parliament voted to strengthen the wording of forced marriage legislation in 2008 so that the law now reads: “Forcing someone to enter marriage can result in a prison sentence of up to four years.”

According to Mirza, the authorities have three main problems in tackling forced marriages. First is that members do not have to act as witnesses, making arranged marriages hard to prove. Moreover, the law against forced marriages does not apply to marriages that are not recognised by Danish authorities. And lastly, the law focuses on preventing physical pressure even though young people are normally psychologically coerced.

“I think the law should be widened so that it also includes psychological pressure, which in many cases can be far more oppressive than real violence,” Mirza said.

Peter Skaarup (Dansk Folkeparti) thinks the government needs to look at the problem.

“I think the situation would definitely change if we broadened the criteria for how we define ‘force’,” Skaarup told Politiken. “It may help create a mentality change in the parallel societies where this happens and we know through studies that social control is often forced through social and psychological pressure and not just violence.”

Chlamydia infects over 100 million people worldwide every year (photo: iStock)
Danish researchers close to chlamydia vaccine breakthrough
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the Statens Serum Institu...
Romanians and Lithuanians rounded up the top three (photo: iStock)
Chileans account for most burglaries by foreigners in Denmark
Romania and Lithuania may have a bad rep when it comes to organised burglar...
Sichlau's time of 13.56 is a new world record (photo: Facebook)
Dane set world record in stiletto sprinting
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce may be the fastest woman in the world, but when it ...
Immigrant boys are not getting the most out of their time at school (photo: Malene Thyssen)
One in three immigrant boys failing basic graduation exams
A third of immigrant boys are failing the basic 9th grade exit exam, accord...
The elderly are finding themselves increasingly isolated in the rural areas (photo: iStock)
Vast majority of north Jutland towns shrinking
Two out of every three towns in north Jutland have decreased in population ...
Copenhagen firefighters were called into action by a major fire yesterday (photo: EBO)
Fatal apartment fire in Copenhagen
An apartment fire in Copenhagen has claimed one victim and left four firefi...