Saturday, March 24, 2007

Important Asylum case re. arranged marriage and abuse

Check out this CSM article on an asylum case that will go to the Supreme Court based on arranged marriage and the prospects for abuse if the woman is forced to return to China. What do you think?


zain said...

It is very sad that countless women around the globe have been victimized by domestic violence that arises from forced marriages. Social customs play a very significant role in such cases. A daughter has to honor her parents’ commitment, and hence has to marry the man chosen for her by her family. On the other hand, a wife must respect her husband, no matter how she is treated by him. I believe that rural China has a very patriarchal set-up where even a future husband has enormous control over the life of his future wife. We all know that the case under consideration clearly shows that a human being's basic rights and liberties are under threat; however, does the given case present a valid asylum claim. The category of 'a particular social group' can be used to establish the claim for future persecution, but it is not going to be an easy task to establish an unprecedented social group. The case is one of a kind, and so, it will be very difficult to prove that the future threats faced by the victim do constitute persecution.
Why is it that every time a new kind of asylum case is witnessed, the first argument of the DHS states that if granted asylum, the case will lead to a flood of refugees into the country. The U.S. asylum policy should be aimed at providing relief to deserving victims of persecution and torture, and not designed to discourage such victims to remain in their home countries to face more sufferings. Hello! Isn’t DHS missing the entire point of the asylum policy by presenting such lame arguments?

Malika said...

The first thing that struck me when I read this post was how it is similar to Fazziya Kassindja's case. Yes, the countries have changed. However, once again, here is a women who is being asked to marry a man who she may not know very well, if at all, and who would perhaps not treat his wife with respect and dignity.
I agree with Zain that in this case the asylum seeker fits a particular social group--women who are being forced to marry men against their wishes. What is worse is that these men would treat their wives badly. That is future persecution staring these women in the face!
As far as the floodgate argument is concerned, I do not believe that all arranged marriages are bad. I come from a country where arranged marriages still exist, and are not frowned upon at all. There is a cultural aspect to such practices that people in the West often do not understand. However, this case differs from simple "arranged marriages" because there is a great threat of future persecution here. This is not the case of all arranged marriages. A lot of these marraiges are happy marriages. Therefore, I would say to the DHS: make a distinction between simple arranged marriages and those where the women are claiming where they are likely to be abused, so that you can protect your precious borders.