Forced marriage is a criminal offence in the UK and is a form of domestic violence and/or child abuse, yet it remains a prevalent issue, particularly in the Republic of Ireland where for many women and children, this barbaric practice remains unchallenged and uncriminalised.
Hosted at the European Parliament in Dublin, The Sharan Project, Love and Care for People (LCP) and renowned human rights activist, Mandy Sanghera will be presenting a seminar about child and forced marriage, honour based violence and reproductive abuse on Thursday 25th June.
This is the first time NGOs and the civil society including Joe Costello TB, Former Minister of State and Development – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and H.E Mrs. Bolere Elizabeth Ketebu, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be sat at a round table to discuss the necessary actions required to eliminate forced marriage in the Republic of Ireland.
Figures in Ireland are as yet unknown but case work of girls forced into marriage is slowly being reported. Love and Care for People (LCP) will announce details of their work with the University of Cork to establish how prevalent this issue is within the Republic of Ireland.
Mandy Sanghera, Human rights activist says:
”I have supported several young women from the traveller community who have suffered abuse in the name of honour. There is nothing honourable about abusing people. We need to raise awareness of hidden crimes and empower young women to seek support and advice – our services need to be more accessible to the most vulnerable within society.”
Our founder Polly Harrar says:
“Often victims feel they no longer have control over their own lives, resulting in increased levels of depression and self-harm, in extreme cases, even attempting suicide. Living a life of abuse can often seem worse than not living at all…following the recent Forced marriage conviction in the UK, we would like to see more being done to end this practice in Ireland and to support those who come forward”
Iniobong Usanga, Founder Love and Care for People says:
“In Ireland, many victims live in silence because they do not have a support system. This is why we have teamed up with our counterparts in the UK to help raise awareness of the issues and identify how we can end such cruel practices – we must not let people suffer in silence.”
Over 10 million girls a year are forced into marriage globally. Every year, 14 million girls are married before they turn 18, this means every 2 seconds a girl is forced into marriage and one in three girls in the developing world will be married by their eighteenth birthday. If current trends continue, more than 140 million girls will be married as children by 2020. That’s 14 million every year or nearly 39,000 girls married every day.
It is estimated that 10,000 involve British nationals and 20% of these are men. It can affect women and men as well as girls and boys from any community and any background, it is not justified on religious or cultural grounds and UN regard this as a breach of human rights
Signs of forced marriage must be identified early in order to protect young men and women before they are married off against their will. Victims of forced marriage are often too afraid to speak out and those at risk are unsure of where to go to seek help particularly if they have been ostracised by their family and communities.