Kensington to hold seminar on forced marriage and ‘honour’ based violence


The event will show a film about the honour killing of 20-year-old Banaz Mahmod.


By Bethan Marsh

A forced marriage seminar highlighting the dangers that thousands of young girls face every day will be discussed in Kensington next month.

Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea have collaborated to organise the event which will be held at The Great Hall on May 9.

A free screening of Banaz-a love story, directed by Norwegian filmmaker and human rights activist, Deeyah, will be shown first, followed by a discussion and a chance to ask questions with the panellists.

The film focuses on the the honour killing of 20-year-old Banaz Mahmod, who was murdered and buried in a suitcase by her father and uncle in 2006.

Banaz was in an unhappy and abusive forced marriage which she left to begin a relationship with another man.

Her father Mahmod and uncle Ari were convicted of her murder in June 2007, while two other men involved in her murder became the first people to be extradited from Iraq to Britain, and were jailed for life in 2010.

The event’s panel will include Deeyah, Sophie Wright of the Forced Marriage Unit, Dave Page, Director for Safer Neighbourhoods, Diana Nammi from the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation and Caroline Goode, QPM, Metropolitan Police Service’s Detective Superintendent.

Cllr Greg Smith, Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “No one should be subjected to violence and abuse from their partner or family, nor should they constantly live in fear.

“All too often forced marriages and so-called ‘honour’ crimes go unreported but we hope that this event will go some way to helping more people report this abuse and feel safe.”

Last month, PM David Cameron pledged to make forced marriages a criminal offence in the UK, after a two-year-old was identified as the youngest person to be forced into marriage.

Hundreds of forced marriage cases worldwide are reported every year, with 80% of the victims being women.

Last year protests occurred in Morocco when 16-year-old Amina Filali became the latest victim to commit suicide after being forced into a marriage.

Amina swallowed rat poison  in order to escape her rapist husband.

Middle East traditions state if a man marries his rape victim, he can escape prosecution which also restores the victim’s honour.

 “We are all Amina Filali” is a Facebook page created in memory of Amina, and over 1,000 signatures have already been signed to the online petition to end forced marriages to rapists.

To book your place at the seminar, contact Carly Fry on [email protected], or call 020 8753 3430.

Photo courtesy of Ed Scarce via YouTube, with thanks.

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