On 25 June, the ALDE Group, together with the Dutch NGO Femmes For Freedom, organised a public hearing in the European Parliament bringing together a broad audience of academics, experts, politicians and EU stakeholders to discuss the issue that keeps women trapped in a religious marriage and thus in a position of discrimination and oppression.
These women lack independence and are hampered in their participation in society. Therefore, we think it is high time that marital captivity is recognised as gender-based discrimination and violence and, for the international community to raise its voice.
"Marital captivity must be recognized as gender based discrimination and violence, and we must fight it with all possible means." says @hildevautmans during our hearing on the injustice of #MaritalCaptivity w/ @SophieintVeld @CharlesGoerens @ShirinMusa @femmes4freedom pic.twitter.com/4ItTTmfsaa— Renew Europe (@RenewEurope) June 25, 2018
“Everybody, men and women, should be free to choose who they marry and who they get divorced from. It’s important to put #MaritalCaptivity on the agenda - as a women’s right, as a human right or as part of the #RuleOfLaw.” @SophieintVeld pic.twitter.com/x2QiyF8fdG— Renew Europe (@RenewEurope) June 25, 2018
Hilde Vautmans MEP (Open VLD, Belgium) commented at the event: “Due to this horrible situation women lose their independence, their right to live, their right to self-determination. They cannot start a new relationship, they are isolated from their own community, and they are left alone. And if they try to fight back, if they do everything in their power to put an end to their marital captivity, they encounter serious violence and threats. Some of which even lead to suicide and honor killings.
In this Parliament we often talk about early and forced marriages, we condemn them and try to find solutions to end this kind of gross human rights violations. But when it comes to the situation of marital captivity it stays often too quiet and these women stay in the dark, completely invisible.”
Participants of the EP hearing have agreed on a list of concrete recommendations in order to address the problem. Find out more about these proposals in the ALDE Group's blog post.