Hege Storhaug, HRS
Det pågår en debatt i Storbritannia som minner om tidligere norske debatter. Skal tvangsekteskap kriminaliseres eller vil dette føre til at ofre for tvangsekteskap da ikke våger å varsle myndighetene i frykt for at særlig foreldre kan straffeforfølges? Sist gang vi hadde en liknende debatt i Norge var da det forelå et forslag om å innføre ubetinget offentlig tiltale i loven mot tvangsekteskap. Motstanderne av offentlig påtale tapte, og byrden ble slik løftet av skuldrene til de unge: det er ikke deres ansvar å anmelde tvangsekteskap og slik sørge for at en mor, far eller andre familiemedlemmer straffes Påtalemakten skal selv ta grep og sørge for siktelse og tiltale.
Straffeloven i Norge mot tvangsekteskap var egentlig overflødig. Å tvinge noen inn i et ekteskap var like forbudt før særloven om tvangsekteskap ble innført i 1995 som etter innføringen av loven. Den var en ”signallov”, som lenge var en sovende paragraf. Først 10 år senere fikk Norge den første dommen om tvangsekteskap, og etter dette har vi hatt ytterligere to domfellelser. At så få saker er brakt inn for domstolen er unektelig et politisk nederlag. Tilstanden i Storbritannia, der det tidligere er anslått at 3 000 jenter tvangsgiftes årlig, må kunne karakteriseres som skandaløs: ingen saker om tvangsekteskap er ført for domstolen. I dag foreligger det et rettslig tiltak som heter Forced Marriage Prevention Orders, som ofre for tvangsekteskap kan benytte for å få beskyttelse mot overgrep. Forced Marriage Prevention Orders er ikke koblet mot straffeloven. Det er dette Cameron nå ønsker å gjøre samtidig som han åpner for en at tvangsekteskap i seg selv kriminaliseres.
Mr Cameron announced he was making it a criminal offence to breach an order issued by the courts to prevent a forced marriage and he has asked Home Secretary Theresa May to consult on whether the practice should be made an offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The cross-party Commons Home Affairs Committee called earlier this year for forced marriage to be criminalised, but its recommendation was rejected by the Home Office in July for fear that it would discourage victims from coming forward.
The Prime Minister announced today he was asking Mrs May to rethink the decision in a speech in central London in which he outlined measures to get immigration under control, including «stricter and clearer» tests on those claiming the right to settle in the UK to be with their spouses.
«Forced marriage is little more than slavery,» said Mr Cameron.
«To force someone into marriage is completely wrong. And I strongly believe this is a problem we should not shy away from addressing. But I know that there is a worry that criminalisation could make it less likely that those at risk will come forward.
«So, as a first step, I am announcing today that we will criminalise the breach of Forced Marriage Prevention Orders. It’s ridiculous that an Order made to stop a forced marriage isn’t enforced with the full rigor of the criminal law.
«And I am also asking the Home Secretary to consult on making forcing someone to marry an offence in its own right, working closely with those who provide support to women forced into marriage to make sure that such a step would not prevent or hinder them from reporting what has happened to them.»
Cameron har varslet en helt ny innvandringspolitikk, der det ikke minst skal stilles krav ved familieetablering. Det skal innføres språkkrav og krav om økonomisk forsørgelse. Det skal også ta lengre tid før permanent opphold kan gis, og myndighetene vil bekjempe proformaekteskap.
Mr Cameron said that in future individuals applying to come to the UK for family reasons will have to show that they can speak English and have the financial resources to support themselves, as well as genuine family links in Britain.
Family migration made up almost one-fifth of non-EU immigration last year, with 50,000 visas issued. But a survey suggested that more than 70 per cent of UK-based family sponsors had an income of less than £20,000 after tax, creating «an obvious risk» that they may become dependent on welfare.
Mr Cameron said the Migration Advisory Committee will look at the case for increasing the minimum level for financial support.
Ministers will consider whether to discount all promises of support from family and friends and require a financial bond from migrants in some cases.
There will closer checks on claimed relationships between spouses to weed out sham marriages for immigration reasons, including cases where couples divorce immediately after obtaining permission to stay and then make fresh applications relating to different partners.
«We will make migrants wait longer, to show they really are in a genuine relationship before they can get settlement,» Mr Cameron said.
«And we’ll also impose stricter and clearer tests on the genuineness of a relationship, including the ability to speak the same language and to know each other’s circumstances.
«We will also end the ridiculous situation where a registrar who knows a marriage is a sham still has to perform the ceremony.»
He said he would rewrite the exam for migrants wishing to take on UK citizenship to ensure that British history and culture – rather than EU institutions and the workings of the benefit system – are at the heart of the tests.
Mr Cameron denounced Labour’s points-based system, which was intended to ensure that economic migration was limited to those workers needed by the UK economy, as a «complete failure» which was «a magnet for fraudsters» and allowed the number of incomers to go «through the roof».
Initial indications suggest that the Government’s actions since coming into office in May last year have started to reverse a trend which saw net migration rise to 239,000 last year, he said.
A new annual ceiling of 20,700 non-EU economic migrants had been undersubscribed every month and the Government was asking the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to consider reducing it further.
He restated his goal of getting net immigration down to the tens of thousands.
But he said he was determined to give «the red carpet treatment» to entrepreneurs, investors and scientists from overseas who want to come to Britain to create businesses and jobs.
He said he recognised there was «discomfort and tension» in some communities over the arrival of large numbers of migrants, and insisted that the Government was not «powerless» to deal with it.
He promised to deliver «fairness for people already living here, working here, contributing here, who worry about finding work, getting a good school for their children and affording a good house».
«For too long, they have been overlooked in this debate. And it’s time to do right by them.»
And he said: «How do we know when we are getting immigration right?
«It’s when we are getting the right people we need for our economy and when all those who come here do so for genuine reasons and join with the rest of society in making our country stronger, richer and more secure.
«That’s the kind of immigration I want. And that’s the kind of immigration this Government will deliver.»