Australia wants to stamp out forced marriages

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Canberra (Australia), Nov.22 (ANI): The Australian Government wants to know what more can be done to stamp out the practice of forced or servile marriage in the country.

Although not regarded as widespread in Australia, the problem was highlighted in two separate cases this year when courts issued orders barring girls aged 14 and 17 from being removed to an overseas destination to be married against their will, news.com.au reports.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the government was committed to ensuring there were laws to protect individuals forced into a marriage and to punish those responsible.

The government was inviting public comment on a discussion paper outlining a range of possible legislative and non-legislative measures, Mr McClelland said in a statement today.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said the practice of forced or servile marriage was completely unacceptable.

"It takes away a person's freedom and autonomy and makes that person vulnerable to further terrible abuses within that marriage," Mr O'Connor said in a statement today.

The discussion paper says forced marriage was sometimes viewed as a religious custom but no major religion condoned this practice. (ANI)

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