16 September, 2010
Following the publication of a report on forced marriages in Zurich, the Ministry of Justice is now drawing up a bill on the issue which is expected by the end of 2010. The bill may lead to tougher penalties, and is designed to improving the legal tools which can be used to fight forced marriages.
Many of the cases in the Zurich report involve Muslim families, however the issue is “not related to Islam as such,” according to Janine Dahinden, professor of transnational studies at Neuchâtel University. “It is more of a generational conflict between parents and children.”
The report also indicates that the number of people seeking advice with regard to forced marriages is growing. This is seen as a positive step by Karin Aeberhard, co-director of the Mädchenhaus Zürich, Switzerland’s only girls’ refuge. “It’s not such a taboo anymore,” she says.