Norway: Immigrant youth take up studies to avoid marriage

Norway: Immigrant youth take up studies to avoid marriage

Immigrant youth choose long and many study courses in order to put off being forcibly married, several sources in the immigrant community told P4 Nyhetene.

Summer is the peak season for forced marriages and Gerd Fleischer of SEIF (Self-help for immigrants and refugees) confirms they're aware of the problems.

It's particularly the girls who go for higher education and several take their time with educational paths that take a long time in order to avoid the pressure to get married as quickly as possible, Fleischer told P4-Nyhetene.

The largest group of girls who would be forcibly married, never has the option to choose studies and drop out of school already in upper secondary school. Those who have more resources are allowed to continue studying, but even after completing their studies, a large number of girls ends up having to break with their families or being married off. Often there's violence involved.

Fleischer says he had boys sitting in his office crying while they tell of what they must go through on their wedding night, just to satisfy their parent's wishes.

- What if they refuse?

Fleischer replies that they can be beaten up. The father can beat them up in order to get them to act like 'proper men' and follow orders.

Akhtar Chaudhry (Socialist Party) was afraid when P4-Nyhetene told him of this rising trend.

"It's a waste of national resources that immigrant youth choose long and many studies, just to put off forcibly being married," he says. He condemns this in the harshest way and this it's a great burden for the youth. It's unjust and it's a straining for youth that youth are forced to take up longer education just to escape forced marriage, says Chaudry.

Chaudry says that we need these youth to build up the country, not for signing up to courses in order to avoid forced marriage.

Source: P4 (Norwegian)

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