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Stop forced marriage

“Forced marriage is not simply a question of being forced to accept a spouse but involves a series of violent acts against – primarily - women and girls, but sometimes also men and boys. All Council of Europe member States are affected by forced marriage, which may occur in many different ways,” Béatrice Fresko-Rolfo (Monaco, ALDE) said, presenting her report to the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination in Paris today.

“Such marriages may be concluded in Europe, there may be forced marriages of European nationals or residents concluded elsewhere, or persons may have been forced to marry before arriving in Europe. Forced marriage entails serious violations of the victim’s fundamental rights, and in particular violations of women’s rights to physical integrity, physical and mental health, sexual and reproductive health, education, private life, freedom and autonomy. Such violations can under no circumstances be justified on the ground of respect for cultural traditions, customs or religious beliefs, nor by so-called ‘honour’,” she underlined.

The committee unanimously adopted a call for a series of measures which member States should implement to favour integrated policies and prevent forced marriages, protect victims and prosecute those who commit these harmful practices.

The report is scheduled for debate at the PACE summer session (Strasbourg, 25-29 June 2018).