The Right to Say I Don’t: Forced Marriage as Persecution in the United Kingdom, Spain, and France


This Note aims to compare the way that forced marriage is, or is not, viewed as persecution under the domestic asylum laws and regulations of the United Kingdom and two other European nations—Spain and France. First, this Note will provide a background on the law of asylum, its international origins, and its domestic implementation in the legal systems of the United Kingdom, Spain, and France. Next, this Note will compare how these three states address the practice of forced marriage. Whether forced marriage is considered persecution under their respective domestic systems of asylum law differs among the states and, in varying degrees, often diverges from, and fails to comply with, international standards. These differences in how forced marriage is substantively treated by these three European countries are especially problematic given the growing procedural harmonization among the countries, leaving victims of forced marriage with fewer options and opportunities for asylum protection. Finally, this Note will argue that there should be domestic, regional, and international solutions implemented to ensure the protection of victims of forced marriage.