Have an arranged marriage

Forced marriages

Forced marriage is a blatant human rights violation and a modern form of slavery. The children and women forced to marry usually have to move in with the husbands' families and suffer from physical, psychological and sexual violence from their family environment.

In the midst of our society, marriages between young people are forced against their will. A forced marriage exists when one or both partners have no way of deciding against getting married. The forcibly married girls and women usually have to move in with the husbands' families and suffer from physical, psychological and sexual violence that is exercised by their family environment. The right to further educational opportunities is often denied to young girls and women because of the traditional role they have been forced to play. Forced marriage is a blatant violation of human rights and a modern form of slavery that predominantly affects migrant women in most European countries. Forced marriages have long been discussed in various contexts. They are meanwhile also a topic of a wider public in Germany. There are no reliable figures on the extent and extent of forced marriage in Germany. A study by the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth from 2008 comes to the following results:

  • 32 percent of those affected were born in Germany.
  • 95 percent are girls and young women.
  • 30 percent of them are younger than 17 years, 40 percent between 18 and 21 years of age.
  • More than half of those affected experience physical violence
  • 27 percent are threatened with murder - in the name of honor - among other things.

According to UNICEF estimates, 10 million girls worldwide are married before the age of 18 every year.

Archaic values

A forced marriage violates the right to self-determination and affects the human dignity of those affected. Forced marriages take place worldwide in all social classes, ethnic and cultural contexts and are based on patriarchal family structures. Within the family environment, girls and boys are conditioned with archaic values ​​from an early age and, if the traditions are not adhered to, they are often put under pressure by family members or even threatened with murder. It is not only male family members who put pressure on girls and women, mothers also stand behind rules being observed so as not to question the big picture, the cultural traditions of family structures.

Forced marriages are still widespread in Islamic and Hindu societies, but are not limited to them. Forced marriages are also carried out in the Christian culture. The aim is to control the behavior of girls and women, avoid sexual contacts before marriage or "inappropriate" relationships outside of an ethnic, cultural or religious group or caste in order not to damage the "honor" and social standing of the family.

Marriage traditions are intended to strengthen an understanding of families based on cultural and religious ideals. Especially when they are far away from home, these traditions are maintained in ethnic communities and are often reinforced if they are not integrated into the new society. Last but not least, financial motives (bridal money) are the reason for forced marriage. Often, however, it is also about enabling people to migrate from a country of origin to Germany or gaining access to state social benefits. In the case of forced marriages, a distinction is made between different groups: “marriage procrastination”, “marriage import”, “marriage for an immigration ticket” and a common migration background. A distinction must be made between arranged marriages that are initiated by relatives or arranged by marriage brokers but are concluded with the consent of the spouse. Not only young women are affected, but also boys and young men.

Legal position

Forced marriages violate human rights, international agreements, civil and criminal law provisions in Germany and the principle of equal rights for women and men. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16 (2), it says: A marriage may only be concluded if the future spouses freely and unreservedly agree. The same is stated in the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Article 16. The convention, which has been ratified by almost all states, is legally binding. Forced marriage also contradicts the latest resolution of the UN Commission on the Status of Women of March 15, 2013. It decided that states should pass laws that, among other things, end forced marriage and give girls and women formal and informal education programs about their rights and clarify the prohibition of forced marriage.

At the same time, forced marriages are considered a “modern form of slavery”. The United Nations Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, adopted in 1956, states: Each State party to this Convention shall take all feasible and necessary legislative and other measures to achieve complete abolition gradually and as soon as possible to induce or waive any of the following institutions and practices, (...) by which (i) a woman, without having the right to refuse, violates any money or money given to her parents, guardian, family or any other person or group of persons Payment in kind for marriage is promised or married, (ii) the husband of a woman, his family or his clan is entitled to cede it to another person for consideration or in any other way, (iii) a woman to another person on the death of her husband can be inherited.

German politics also play a role

Due to a restrictive immigration policy and the amendment of other residence and asylum regulations (Forced Marriage Control Act), which came into force on July 1, 2011, the duration of the marriage was increased from two to three years in order to obtain an independent residence title (Section 31 (1) AufenthG ).

With this legislation, which binds the residence status of the spouse to the conjugal union, the relationship of dependency is encouraged and the actual goal of combating forced marriage and protecting those affected is thwarted. Here we refer to Terre des Femmes, which, like the DGVN, is a member organization of the Human Rights Forum, and their catalog of demands on the subject of forced marriage.