So, tough new laws to ‘ban’ forced marriages are to be introduced to the UK. Which is a bit odd, as various civil laws already (supposedly) prevent such an injustice taking place anyway, but the government appear to be moving it into criminal law. Mostly the law is aimed not at the indigenous population, but rather at certain immigrant groups who indulge in arranged marriages.
TOUGH new laws to ban forced marriages are due to be announced by the Government.
Home Secretary Theresa May is expected to make the practice a criminal offence in a crackdown ordered by David Cameron.
It comes after the Prime Minister branded forced marriage “little more than slavery” and “completely wrong”.
But he ordered the Home Office to look into whether forcing someone to marry should be made a specific criminal offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A three-month consultation ended in March, with Mrs May expected to make an announcement on the issue tomorrow.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Forced marriage is an appalling form of abuse and we are determined to tackle it. That’s why we have held a consultation on making it a criminal offence.”
However, there’s a problem here involving a burden of proof, most of these forced marriages take place abroad and most are used as visa dodges by family groups to bring in even more members of their tribe. By the time that the authorities may become aware of the problem, either the spouse has vanished into the community, or ‘honour’ vengeance has been exacted upon the woman involved, for sadly this problem is inevitably a gender specific event. A daughter is sent abroad on a family holiday, she’s isolated in a land where she does not understand the customs and end up being married to a cousin or uncle of the family then coerced into signing the visa forms. If she objects she’s beaten, threatened with being abandoned by the family, sometimes killed. There have been any number of suspicious suicides within the various communities involved and I doubt the practice will stop no matter the penalties involved.
What will be required to stop it is old fashioned discrimination, certain marriages from certain countries to certain sub groups need to be banned. Go abroad to say a western country, marry bring home a bride from that country, usually no problem. Go abroad to say the Indian sub continent, then no, you marry, you stay, your spouse will not receive a visa. Cruel, yes, workable, yes, prevent forced marriages, almost certainly.
Will it happen? Not a chance in hell. We’d need to get out of the human rights act first.
This problem will not be fixed by tinkering with the law, but by blocking visa’s from areas where this problem persists.