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Forced marriages and child marriages

Recommendation 1723 (2005)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 5 October 2005 (29th Sitting) (see Doc. 10590, report of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, rapporteur : Mrs Zapfl-Helbling ; and Doc. 10678, opinion of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee, rapporteur : Mrs Bargholtz). Text adopted by the Assembly on 5 October 2005 (29th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 1468 (2005) on forced marriages and child marriages and asks the Committee of Ministers to ensure its application by member states.
2. It recommends that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe instruct the appropriate intergovernmental committee to make a thorough analysis of forced marriages and child marriages and devise a strategy encouraging member states to take the following specific action :
2.1 institute prevention campaigns in primary, secondary and upper secondary schools, suited to the age of the pupils targeted, informing them of their rights and especially the right to make up one’s own mind with regard to marriage, the right to choose one’s future partner and the right not to marry before 18 years of age, aiming both at a general audience and at those particularly concerned ;
2.2 inform persons under threat of forced marriage of the practical steps to be taken to forestall marriage, such as placing one’s passport in safe keeping, lodging a complaint of theft of papers in the event of confiscation and giving the address of the proposed holiday location ;
2.3 provide emergency reception facilities where people liable to be forcibly married can be heard, cared for and accommodated, shielding them from the pressure brought to bear by others and from possible abduction ;
2.4 financially support associations and other non-governmental organisations that assist and support, shelter and protect potential or actual victims ;
2.5 aid victims in their physical and psychological recovery ;
2.6 punish the persons who voluntarily participate in a forced or a child marriage, including perpetrators of rape ;
2.7 punish the persons who aid and abet the contracting of a forced or a child marriage, considering as an aggravating circumstance the victim’s dependency on these persons ;
2.8 check the validity of any marriage celebrated abroad, making its transcription subject to the presence of both spouses and authorising the diplomatic staff to interview either or both spouses beforehand ;
2.9 for this purpose, ensure that public service staff, particularly in the judiciary, the police force, and the social, diplomatic and consular services, are properly informed and trained to detect forced marriages ;
2.10 put an end to the custom of pledges of marriage and child betrothals, including cases involving very young minors.