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Finding solutions to end marital captivity

Measures to prevent marital captivity and ensure effective solutions for victims are urgently needed, the Parliamentary Assembly said, by adopting a resolution today, on the basis of the report by Margreet De Boer (Netherlands, SOC),

The adopted text indicates that persons trapped in marital captivity face a range of human rights violations: they lose their independence and their right to self-determination; they cannot freely remarry; they may be prevented from travelling; they are often isolated; and they may encounter serious violence and threats, notably related to so-called “honour”.

In order to remedy this problem, PACE recommended that member States take a series of measures to strengthen the law in this area and its implementation – in particular by ensuring the accessibility of divorce proceedings and the availability of no-fault divorce to everyone – to prevent such situations and protect victims. It also called on member States to ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention, of which many provisions could apply to cases of marital captivity.

As some situations of marital captivity can be linked to particular interpretations of laws and religious texts, the authorities should also work together with the communities concerned to overcome religious attitudes and customary practices that favour marital captivity, while involving interdisciplinary networks of experts and activists already working within these communities to combat the phenomenon, the parliamentarians emphasised.