Subscription 790/year or 190/quarter

The state is in charge

Over 100 million new state crowns are set aside for the fight against forced marriage. With this, the state takes control of the work in this area.



[action] Friday afternoon the 29. In June, Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion Bjarne Håkon Hanssen (Ap) will present a proposal by the Government for a new immigration law. Among other things, the bill contains a contentious requirement to increase the annual income limit to 200.000 kroner if one wishes to obtain a spouse from a country outside the EEA.

At the same press conference, Hanssen and Minister for Children and Gender Equality Karita Bekkemellem (Ap) then presented their new Action Plan against forced marriage.

As far as Ny Tid is aware, this action plan will entail a clear shift in the focus on measures against forced marriage that affect Norwegian citizens. In total, more than NOK 100 million will be set aside to combat forced marriages.

The intention is that the relative importance of private organizations, which in recent years has set much of the agenda for media debates, will decrease in relation to public knowledge and efforts. Both schools, child welfare services and other public organizations will now receive millions of kroner to prevent and prevent involuntary marriages. When Ny Tid asks for a comment on the information from Gülay Kutal, central board member and chair of the Ethnic Gender Equality Committee in SV, she says:

- It is positive that the Government is now sending signals that the public sector is taking responsibility, which is a good, red-green hallmark. The private, voluntary organizations have made an effort: some have been listened to more than anyone else. Now the state can coordinate the efforts of several. Norway is now moving more in the direction of Sweden, where they have just invested in proper information work to prevent it before it is too late, says Kutal.

Not like Denmark

In practice, the Government thus also follows up the conclusions of researcher Anja Bredal, who in February presented the report «Forced marriage cases in the support system». A key point in Bredal's report was that the public sector – from child welfare to school counselors and nurses – has failed. It is precisely such institutions that the Government, with its action plan, will strengthen.

Private organizations, such as the Human Rights Service, will increase the pot they can apply for. In practice, however, the public commitment to forced marriage will now be the dominant one in Norway.

- It is better late than never with such a public investment. It is important that we can get facts from the state regarding the scope of and measures against forced marriage. I am glad that Norway does not do as in Denmark, by increasing the age limit on marriage. That the Labor Party's second worst measure, namely increased maintenance requirements that should apply to everyone, is now being passed, I am not happy with, however, because it discriminates on the basis of income, says Kutal.

Bjarne Håkon Hanssen finally had to drop his demand for a 21-year age limit, or three years of connection to Norway, in order to marry someone outside the EEA area – after SV's central board said the opposite.

In return, Hanssen has gained a lot of influence over the new action plan against forced marriage. Most of the money in the plan will thus be managed by his ministry, and not by Minister for Children and Equality Karita Bekkemellem. ?

Dag Herbjørnsrud
Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

You may also like