Theater of Cruelty

Does not affect forced marriage

The age limit on marriages will only slightly affect forced marriages, figures from Statistics Norway show.


[bill] The government is in the pipeline with a new immigration law. Among the announced measures against forced marriage is an age limit for transnational

21 years of marriage if the bride or groom is from countries outside the EU and EEA.

Statistics Norway has calculated how many Norwegians with immigrant backgrounds may be affected by an age limit of 21 years, or the alternative limit of 24 proposed by the Progress Party.

The figures reveal that there are very few. Only 39 Norwegians with Pakistani backgrounds under 21 married Pakistanis who had not previously settled in Norway in 2004, of which twelve were girls. The corresponding figure for Norwegian-Turks was 33, for Norwegian-Iraqi 17.

A total of 250 Norwegians with immigrant backgrounds aged 18-20 entered into marriage with foreigners in 2004. Otherwise, a number of Norwegians with immigrant backgrounds entered

marriage to foreigners from European countries and the United States. If you increase the age of the spouses to 24, you can see that 576 marriages were made between Norwegians with immigrant background and foreigners in 2004.

Thailand tops the statistics of countries Norwegians derive from spouses, but it is mainly to ethnic Norwegian men. From 1990-2005, 4353 Thai women came to Norway, in all age groups. From Pakistan, 3920 spouses came to Norway in the same period, mainly to Norwegians from the same country.

It is uncertain if any, and if so, how many of these marriages took place under duress. SV's Akhtar Chaudhry believes the figures show that a measure such as age limit is not important and that some have tried to present it as if importing young brides into the immigrant communities is a major problem.

- Some want to present a wrong picture, it is cheated with numbers in many fields in the immigration debate. This is not the first time they have used figures incorrectly, says Chaudhry, who believes it is important to shed light on such figures in order to be able to discuss on the right premises.

The proposal on the age limit on marriage is very contentious in the government, and it is uncertain whether it will eventually be included in the new Immigration Act. The law will be passed this spring.

The Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion Bjarne Håkon Hanssen has come up with the proposal. When asked by Ny Tid, he says that the government has not yet concluded on the issue (see page 10). Chaudhry continues to work on the proposal for reasons of principle.

- Some of these young girls and boys have been subjected to forced marriage. We have always worked to ensure that no one is forced into marriage and will do everything we can to ensure that the creature disappears. But when I and SV are against this proposal, it is because it divides society according to racial differences.

As a basis for the work on the new Immigration Act, Statistics Norway has prepared the report «Limitless love? Family immigration and marriage patterns in multicultural Norway ». There they have looked at marriages in the immigrant communities. The majority of people who come to Norway and are granted a stay come as a result of reuniting with the family. In this group, family establishment through marriage is a large group, first and foremost the marriage between Norwegian men and foreign women.

In Statistics Norway, the section for population statistics continues to count on immigrants and marriages.

- This is something we will count on more during the year, says Kåre Vassenden at Statistics Norway.

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