Friday, October 19, 2007

International Marriage Laws Opus


A Call for International Marriage Laws

I recently watched a CNN programme which centred on “kidnapped daughters” (from multicultural marriages) who were unwillingly given away in marriages in Islamic states by their fathers. Usually, the fathers were from these Islamic states. While pondering over why some states still refuse women their rights to choose whom to marry, the key question I am also trying to answer is “Which international law governs inter-country and inter-religious marriages?”

The real issue is whose belief overrides in an inter-country and inter-religious marriage. Should the father dictate the beliefs of his daughter till she is 18 or should the mother? Whilst love still stands as the basic foundation for a successful marriage, marrying a foreigner with a different religion/beliefs needs a more concrete foundation – such as a signed agreement.

Some women marry male foreigners without fully understanding his background, his beliefs …and most importantly, the beliefs of his people. Some may argue that when they married their husbands, he was a free thinker. This is true especially of westernized men. However, this most likely changes when the man has to return to his roots – his people and their beliefs….and they often return home.

So, which law protects children from inter-country and inter-religious marriages? Which written law states that the man cannot take his daughters back to his roots and marry them off to whoever he wishes? Which law states that a father cannot forbid his daughters to go home and visit their mother? Which international law states that a woman forced to have sex with a husband she was unwillingly married to is pure rape? Which international law states that a woman who has her passport seized by her father is denied her rights?

As the world becomes truly global, perhaps it is time the United Nations begun to look at International Marriage laws which protect the children from inter-country marriages. However, can these children truly be protected despite the political obstacles that prevail?

The obvious answer remains that the end to “kidnapping” is the establishment of international marriage laws which countries can be held accountable for. Whilst couples await these laws, it may be expedient to sign agreements in a court of law to protect unborn children. The question, then, is “whose court of law?”

Kemisola Yusuf - A Consultant who has a passion for supporting the Black Woman... kemisola_yusuf@hotmail.com.

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