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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  

Catherine Dauvergne

University of British Columbia - Faculty of Law

Jenni Millbank

University of Technology, Sydney, Faculty of Law

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Date Written: March 2, 2010

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Dauvergne, Catherine and Millbank, Jenni, Forced Marriage as a Harm in Domestic and International Law (March 2, 2010). Modern Law Review, Vol. 73, pp. 57-88, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1563842

Catherine Dauvergne

University of British Columbia - Faculty of Law ( email )

1822 East Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1
Canada
604-822-6506 (Phone)
604-822-8108 (Fax)

Jenni Millbank (Contact Author)

University of Technology, Sydney, Faculty of Law ( email )

Australia

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