Swiss toughen stance on forced marriages – including past

pink_tulips_morges_2012BERN, SWITZERLAND – One thousand women a year, in Switzerland, who are forced to marry or whose families will not allow them to divorce, will receive better protection from the Swiss government starting 1 July 2013. Most such marriages involve non-Swiss women.

The Swiss Federal Council Wednesday 27 March agreed on a set of measures to combat the problem of forced marriages, which also has a small number of male victims.

The marriages, even if they are contracted abroad, will be annulled immediately and automatically in Switzerland, and anyone involved in forcing an unwilling partner will face up to five years in prison.

The new law will be retroactive, affecting marriages contracted before July of this year.

The legal age of marriage, 18, will be enforced even if the legal age is younger in the country where the marriage was entered into.