Early/Forced marriage

Combating Early Marriage from the Ground Up

Publication Date: 
February 11, 2011
Yeshi Alem, left, educates her village about the perils of making girls marry young. Right is one of the women she counsels.

At age 12, Loko, whose last name is withheld for privacy reasons, was forced to marry a man 50 years her senior. As with many child marriages in her home country of Ethiopia, it was a family member who made the decision that derailed her childhood. The 10th of 11 children, she was sold off by her older brother after their father died. Marriage brought a destitute life—her husband was too old to work, and they often went hungry.

Transnational Forced Marriage: From the UK to Pakistan

Publication Date: 
March 24, 2011

We recall that ‘marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses’ (Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Article 16(2)). Heightened media sensitivity surrounding the practice of forced marriage helped to lead to the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007, implemented in autumn 2008, incorporating the Act into a new Part 4A of the Family Law Act 1996.  

Iran: Supreme Court - No Divorce Even if Additional Wife Taken

Publication Date: 
October 12, 2010

If a wife refuses to perform her wifely duties, the wife's right to divorce from her husband is not realizable or enforceable, even if he takes another wife.

Child Brides Often Stop Education & Continue Poverty

Publication Date: 
February 28, 2011
The Economist

In South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa 38% of women marry before they are 18 years old. Child marriages, as defined by UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency, are those undertaken by women under the age of 18 and include unions where a woman and a man live together as if they were married.

Zambia: 'Early Marriage' Tradition Violates Girls' Rights

Publication Date: 
January 10, 2011
Advocates for Human Rights

Underage marriage is widespread in northern Zambia’s Luapula Province, where the estimates that 70 percent of teenage girls are forced into marriage. Poverty, particularly in rural areas, and a tradition of marrying daughters off young, account for the high rates of child marriage. The practice of bride price - where the groom pays an amount of money to the bride’s family - also plays a role as some parents seek financial gains from marrying their daughters. Many parents also choose to marry their daughters young to prevent them from getting pregnant outside marriage and besmirching family honor.

Zambia: Marriage of Young Girls a Tradition - Risks, Rights

Publication Date: 
December 20, 2010
A young mother bathes her baby in Luapula Province, northern Zambia. Photo: Nebert Mulenga/IRIN

MANSA, 20 December 2010 (IRIN) - The minimum legal age for marriage in Zambia is 18, and parental consent is required if a girl or boy is 16-17. Anyone under 16 is a minor, and defilement of a minor is a serious offence, punishable by imprisonment of up to 25 years.

Report from the event "Your Marriage Your Rights"

Publication Date: 
March, 2010


From early on after the inception of Direct Approach it was identified that a key issue facing ME women within the community was Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence.

It was, however, recognised that this was an exceptionally complex area and any work in the field should be approached with a high level of sensitivity.

Scotland: Forced Marriages Under-Reported

Publication Date: 
October 13, 2010
The Direct Approach Network

The Direct Approach network, a partnership between Edinburgh police and organizations representing ethnic minority women, released a report on October 13th, 2010 indicating that the number of forced marriages taking place in the city is much higher than the number reported.

Upon surveying 40 women from minority communities, half said they know of or are victims themselves of forced marriages. With only an average of seven cases reported annually, it is clear that there are many hidden victims.

Interview: Forced and Arranged Marriages - Between Elucidation and Scandalizing Distortion

Publication Date: 
December 2, 2010
Dr. Filiz Sütcü questions the sensational manner in which the issue of forced marriages was brought to the public's attention.

Filiz Sütcü, a lawyer of Turkish origin, has carried out academic research into the subject of forced and arranged marriages. In an interview with Claudia Mende, she criticises the media's sensational treatment of the issue and explains that public debate is usually more about cultural and religious defamation.

Kyrgyzstan: Bride Kidnapping Prevalent

Publication Date: 
November 22, 2010
The Epoch Times
Kyrgyz women who suffered kidnapping taking part in a round-table discussion on bride kidnapping in the eastern city of Naryn

One third of all Kyrgyzstan brides are considered to have been kidnapped by their future husbands. The custom of bride kidnapping, which began with rival clans stealing and forcing marriage on each others’ women, has grown into a large social problem in Kyrgyzstan over the past 50 years. Some young men in this Central Asian state take to heart the well-known Kyrgyz saying, “A good marriage starts with tears.”