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Diplomatic Services: Forced Marriage

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidelines are issued to consular and embassy staff in relation to the handling of suspected cases of (a) forced and (b) arranged marriages; and if he will make a statement. (189113)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has no role in relation to arranged marriages, where the families take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the spouses. But forced marriage, where one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage and some element of duress is involved, is wholly unacceptable. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes forced marriage very seriously. If necessary, we will assist and repatriate British nationals forced into marriage overseas.

Consular staff overseas and staff of the Forced Marriage Unit, are trained to assist victims and potential victims of forced marriage. They are provided with written guidance on case handling.