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Maciamo
10-03-06, 20:12
Expatica : Belgium set to ban forced marriages (http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=24&story_id=28329)


Belgium is to become the world's second country after Norway to ban forced marriages after the Cabinet approved a proposal from Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx on Friday.

Research conducted by the VUB in 1999 indicates that forced marriages are not uncommon in Belgium. Researchers interviewed Turkish and Moroccan women in Brussels and Flanders and found:

* 27 percent of the surveyed women older then 40 were the victims of a forced marriage;
* 13 percent of surveyed Turkish girls aged 17-24 and 8 percent of Moroccan girls aged 17-24 were the victim of a forced marriage.

...

In future, forced marriages will be punishable with a jail term of one month to two years or maximum fines of EUR 500 to EUR 2,500. An attempted forced marriage is prosecutable with a jail term of 15 days to a year or a fine of EUR 250 to EUR 1,250.


Forced marriages are naturally a problem found mostly among the Muslim community of Belgium. I expect that hard-liner Muslims complain again about the government giving more freedom and respect to Muslim women...:blush:

Belgium is once again at the foremost of socially liberal legislations in the world, along with the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

They said on TV that the law would not be retroactive, so women married by forced before the law is enacted will not be able to annul their marriage.

bossel
11-03-06, 02:54
Belgium is once again at the foremost of socially liberal legislations in the world, along with the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
Really? Or is it just riding a wave of populism? Forced marriage is already illegal in Germany. It's not yet a criminal offence on its own, but it's covered by other laws, eg. against coercion. I suppose, that was the case in Belgium as well, & is the case in a lot of other Western countries.


They said on TV that the law would not be retroactive, so women married by forced before the law is enacted will not be able to annul their marriage.
If that is true, then the legal situation in Belgium is actually worse than in Germany.

BTW, there are politicians in Germany who also want a specific law against forced marriage (tried to implement it last year already, but couldn't get it through due to the elections), but that's just populism as well, IMO.
As if we hadn't enough laws already.

Mars Man
11-03-06, 04:27
It sounds like good news to me. It is important that the right to refuse a suggested marriage, be fully granted to anybody, and in some cultures or 'societies' it is not.

About the other things brought up, the details, I don't know...but I would think--off the top of my head--that if it takes a law to do what should more naturally be, then I guess we need the law.

All in all, I think it's a good thing, and about time. :-)

Maciamo
11-03-06, 11:18
Really? Or is it just riding a wave of populism?

What do you call populism ? That would be populism if politicians ceded to pressure from ordinary people (esp. the non intellectual class). But there has been very little or no public debate about banning forced marriage. The law came out of the blue because one female minister decided it should be like that.

As for the "Really ?" in your reply, does that mean that you do not see Belgium as a socially liberal country ? After all, Belgium was one of the first (and rare) countries to legalise cannabis, euthanasia, gay marriages, ban cluster bombs

AFAIK, only no other country than Norway had a national ban on forced marriages with prosecutions (it is basically useless if no penalty is imposed).

This article of the BBC from September 2005 implies that it could forced marriages could be prosecuted in the UK as well.

BBC : Forced marriage 'could be banned' (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/4214308.stm)

bossel
12-03-06, 04:59
What do you call populism ? That would be populism if politicians ceded to pressure from ordinary people (esp. the non intellectual class). But there has been very little or no public debate about banning forced marriage.
Maybe populism in English has a more limited meaning than in German, but as I understand it, pressure from ordinary people is not needed to make something populist. It suffices when politicians act as such because they think that they act according to the "wishes" of large parts of the population (or media).

In this sense they probably decided that such a law would be nice to introduce because they could show the people how much they are defenders of freedom, of emancipation & of Western culture. :okashii:
& this although such would not be needed, since other general laws already applied (if that was not the case, then Belgium can't be as much "at the foremost..." as mentioned above, even less when you consider that the new law doesn't apply to existing marriages).


As for the "Really ?" in your reply, does that mean that you do not see Belgium as a socially liberal country ?
The really was more targeted at the "once again", since I -as should be obvious- don't see such legislation as advancing anything.


AFAIK, only no other country than Norway had a national ban on forced marriages with prosecutions (it is basically useless if no penalty is imposed).
A national ban is superfluous, since forced marriage is against the Declaration of Human Rights & should be covered by existing laws, eg. against coercion. Coercion is a criminal offence in Germany (& has been applied to forced marriages), punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, AFAIK.

Maciamo
12-03-06, 14:04
Maybe populism in English has a more limited meaning than in German, but as I understand it, pressure from ordinary people is not needed to make something populist. It suffices when politicians act as such because they think that they act according to the "wishes" of large parts of the population (or media).
What's the problem with that ? Isn't respecting the people's wishes the main principle of democracy ? What's more, in this case it is a minister (i.e. non-elected politician) who took the initiative, so we can't criticise her for looking for reelection (she's been in the government for over a decade anyway). I can't recall the media pointing out this issue before, so it's they played no part in this. There has been no demonstration or petition from the population to ask for it either. But most Belgians are happy with the decision, so I guess it means that the government (again, non-elected) is doing a good job. I don't see why that's a problem with you.



A national ban is superfluous, since forced marriage is against the Declaration of Human Rights & should be covered by existing laws, eg. against coercion. Coercion is a criminal offence in Germany (& has been applied to forced marriages), punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, AFAIK.
Freedom of thoughts, opinions and religion are also protected by the Declaration of Human Rights. This did not prevent me from being forced-fed Christian ideologies at school from the age of 6, and being punished if I did not agree with them or even just questioned them...:okashii: This was even more so in public school than in private school.

nurizeko
17-03-06, 17:58
OH YES!
britain is tackling this issue at the momment aswell, suffice to say i cant wait to see the back of this barbaric primitive excercise in human rights abuse, justified poorly by playing the culture card.
Edit: i had created this thread before seeing this one but in another part of the forum. Linked for interest.
Linky. (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22681)

bossel
18-03-06, 04:02
What's the problem with that ? Isn't respecting the people's wishes the main principle of democracy ?
Not that I'm much of a democrat, anyway (I just prefer it to other existing forms of government). Sorry if I was a bit unclear in my argumentation. Populism is not respecting the wishes of the people, but acting as if. Politicians think that a part of the population (their target group) has certain (usually medially dumbed down) preferences & act according to these alleged preferences for opportunistic reasons. & that's just crap.
Politicians should act reasonably & based on solid facts, they should not follow trends.

It's not necessary that the media addressed any particular issue to make the use of this issue populistic, but the broader picture in which this issue is placed. As I said above: defence "of freedom, of emancipation & of Western culture."


But most Belgians are happy with the decision, so I guess it means that the government (again, non-elected) is doing a good job. I don't see why that's a problem with you.
Obviously we have different definitions for politicians doing a good job. Since laws already existed (at least I suppose they existed, else I can't see how Belgium could have been as advanced as mentioned) which covered the issue of forced marriage, it is a waste of time & money to enact a special law.
& that's another part of populism: the public may feel good about the actions taken, even though they were totally superfluous.


Freedom of thoughts, opinions and religion are also protected by the Declaration of Human Rights. This did not prevent me from being forced-fed Christian ideologies at school from the age of 6, and being punished if I did not agree with them or even just questioned them
Oh well, as it seems it's a world wide phenomenon that children are denied basic human rights. & yes: :okashii: