Press Release GSD
The fact that our UK Government is charging the vulnerable women/girls under their rescue mission is absolutely appalling.
Global Somali Diaspora (GSD) is backing those who are calling for a review on this damaging practice.
2nd January 2019
It has been revealed that Foreign Office was charging rescued victims of forced marriage if they cannot afford themselves to pay their return to United Kingdom including flight tickets, shelter and food.
It was reported that those who have been helped last year by Foreign Office were included seven Somali women who were found imprisoned in a “correctional school” in Somalia.
It is shocking to hear that some of these women who have been charged £740 each, had found themselves in a financial hardship situation as a result of Foreign Office loans.
Jawaahir Daahir (BEM), Chair of Somali Global Diaspora said: “We are grateful to the Force Marriage Unit support for those who have been forced against their will to go to Somalia or anywhere else but charging those who are the most vulnerable people in our society for their safeguarding as well as surcharging 10% of interest if the loan is not repaid within six months is unacceptable and inhumane”.
It is acknowledged the great work of FMU in overseas and in UK in supporting those who are victims of such practice and it is something we are all proud of. However, GSD condemns the policy that puts these victims in additional financial hardship in order to give them protection.
Jawaahir Daahir (BEM) added: “We are welcoming the voices of those who are raised rightly their concerns on this matter including the Conservative Chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee -Tom Tugendhat, Chairwoman of the Home Affairs Committee – Yvette Cooper and Aisha Gill, Professor of Criminology at the University of Roehampton, A leading expert on forced marriage.
Such practice could really discourage victims to ask for help when they need the most because of the fear of these charges.
GSD is strongly asking the Foreign Office and UK Government to write off these debts and to review this policy that is damaging those they supposed to help.
We need to see urgently an action from the UK Government.
Notes for Editors:
- Global Somali Diaspora is the largest Somali organisation that brings together the Somali diaspora community and it has over 100 representatives around the globe.
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Global Somali Diaspora (GSD)
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