Forced Marriage as a Harm in Domestic and International Law
Modern Law Review, Vol. 73, pp. 57-88, 2010
43 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2010
Date Written: March 2, 2010
This article reports on our analysis of 120 refugee cases from Australia, Canada, and Britain where an actual or threatened forced marriage was part of the claim for protection. We found that forced marriage was rarely considered by refugee decision makers to be a harm in and of itself. This finding contributes to understanding how gender and sexuality are analysed within refugee law, because the harm of forced marriage is experienced differently by lesbians, gay men and heterosexual women. We contrast our findings in the refugee case law with domestic initiatives in Europe aimed at protecting nationals from forced marriages both within Europe and elsewhere. We pay particular attention to British initiatives because they are in many ways the most far-reaching and innovative, and thus the contrast with the response of British refugee law is all the more stark.
Keywords: forced marriage, human rights, refugee law, persecution, gender, sexuality
JEL Classification: K33
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