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Germany

Forced Marriage In Germany: Troubling Findings From The First National Census

A new study on forced marriages in Germany has some disturbing findings: 30,000 such cases may exist and 30% of the girls were younger than 18. The youngest victim was nine years old.

Germany's Minister of Families Kristina Schröder (Michael Panse)
Germany's Minister of Families Kristina Schröder (Michael Panse)

*NEWSBITES

The first ever study on forced marriages in Germany found as many as 30,000 cases, including a particularly high number of teenaged female victims, many of whom were threatened with violence.

Most girls and women in the study were from immigrant families, although approximately one-third were born in Germany. Of those born abroad, most had lived in Germany for five or more years. Turkey was the country of origin of 23% of cases, while 8% of the brides came from the Balkans (Serbia, Kosovo or Montenegro), and 6% from Iraq, according to the study commissioned by Germany's Minister of Families Kristina Schröder.

Roughly 30% were girls 17 years of age or younger when they were either forced to marry or when the subject was broached to them by their family. Nearly a third (27%) were threatened with a weapon or with death if they did not agree to go through with the marriage.

Munich sociologist Aydin Findikci estimates the total number of forced marriage cases in Germany to be 30,000 but arriving at an exact figure is difficult -- especially as it may sometimes be hard to distinguish between a forced marriage and an arranged one. Many forced marriages only come to light when some crime is connected to them, or when the young women or girls find the courage to seek help outside the family.

One-third of women and girls in the study sought help on their own. Another third were persuaded by friends, and the remaining third were put in touch by teachers or social workers. When they took part in the study, 40% were between the ages of 18 and 21, but 30% were minors. The youngest was nine years old, the oldest 55. The research concluded that 71% had not yet been married when they sought help.

The study showed that the better the girl spoke German and the better educated she was, the more likely she was to seek help. Those who had already been married had a considerably lower level of education. The study was conducted during 2009 and 2010 – 1,445 counseling services around the country were asked to participate, of which 830 signed on.

Read the full story in German by Miriam Hollstein

Photo - Michael Panse

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Russia

How The War In Ukraine Could Overturn Everyone's Plans For The Arctic

Russia owns 60% of Arctic coastline and half of the region's population. In recent history, NATO has not been overly concerned with the defense of the Arctic region because the U.S. military has been focused on the Middle East. This is all changing since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Photo of employees walking through frozen installations at the Utrenneye field in Murmansk Region, Russia.

At the Utrenneye field in Murmansk Region, Russia.

Kateryna Mola

-Analysis-

KYIV — As important as the Arctic is for studying climate control and ecology, various states have eyes on it for another reason: resources. Climate change has made the Arctic more accessible for mining, and much of that area is in the Russian Arctic. In order to exploit these potential natural resources, Russia turned to foreign investors and foreign technology, from both the West and China. The war in Ukraine is throwing all of that into question.

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Russia's invasion of Ukraine will have a profoundly devastating impact on the development of Russian Arctic infrastructure, as well as shipping routes through the Arctic. Western companies have left or are about to leave the market, and counter-sanctions threaten those who still cooperate with the Russians.

Given that Russia does not produce the sophisticated equipment to operate in such a complex region and soon will not even be able to repair the equipment it possesses, we can expect Russia's activity in the Arctic to slow down.

Yet, Vladimir Putin has continued to emphasize the Arctic as a priority region, and extended invitations to cooperate to both India and China.

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