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Forced marriages have no place in New Zealand

Rajen Prasad
Spokesperson for Ethnic Affairs

21 December 2012

Forced marriages have no place in NZ

The Government needs to send a tough message to migrant communities - forced marriages will not be tolerated, says Labour’s spokesperson for Ethnic Affairs Rajen Prasad.

“Forced marriage is totally unacceptable and a serious violation of basic human rights.”

Forced marriage has been in the spotlight recently, with concerns that young girls are suffering domestic abuse, rape and isolation as well as being pulled out of school or work at a young age.

Rajen Prasad said the Government needed to take urgent steps to prevent young girls being forced or coerced to marry against their will.

“While collaboration between several Government agencies is welcome, it does not tackle the problem as best it could. The Government needs to move quickly to protect these vulnerable young women.

“It is believed that one reason many underage girls are forced into marriage stems from a concern that young migrant women are becoming too westernised. In other cases, girls are forced into marriages to bring extended family members into the country from overseas.

“These motivations are damaging and not in the best interests of our young women.

“However, it is important to differentiate between forced marriages and arranged marriages. Traditional arranged marriages involve the whole family and require the consent of the Bride and Groom.

“While the numbers of forced marriages in New Zealand is a fraction of what countries like Australia and the UK are dealing with, we need to send a strong message to those involved. Forced marriages have no place in New Zealand,” Rajen Prasad said.

ENDS

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