SYR Press Release

(16 March 2015)


Save Your Rights (‘SYR’), a registered charity campaigning against forced marriage and other human rights abuses, is organising a major conference on forced marriage at the House of Lords.

The conference, kindly hosted by Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, will be held on Wednesday, 20 April 2016 in committee room 4 of the House of Lords from 5.30 – 8 pm (guests should arrive at the House of Lords by 5pm in order to allow for security checks).

The conference follows on from a conference organised by SYR prior to the criminalisation of forced marriage in 2014.  A report commissioned by SYR from Themis Think Tank on the effectiveness of a specific offence of forced marriage in the United Kingdom was launched at that conference.  At the time SYR and Themis were concerned that a specific statutory offence and the accompanying government publicity campaign would force victims underground and discourage them from reporting their issues – particularly if they thought this would lead to the arrest and possible conviction of their relatives.  We felt that the civil and family courts were best placed to deal with most of the issues surrounding forced marriage – rather than the unforgiving criminal courts where the of burden of proof was high and many victims were at risk of being left feeling disappointed or, at worst, re-victimised.  We were also concerned that the government had based its decision to criminalise, at least in part, on a number of studies which were demonstrably fatally flawed – both in methodology and reasoning.  We predicted that the statute would be a toothless one which was rarely used.

Two years on SYR has invited a panel of experts and distinguished speakers to discuss the criminalisation of forced marriage.  Has it been successful or has it been nothing more than a cynical ploy by the government to show that they have ‘done something’ to empower victims when in fact the opposite is true?

We are honoured to welcome Naz Shah MP who has courageously spoken out about her personal experiences of forced marriage, Professor Aisha K. Gill, an academic expert on forced marriage, and a distinguished panel of other speakers and survivors of forced marriage for what promises to be a highly insightful and emotive discussion about this important issue.


Places are strictly limited.  Please RSVP here or for more information or to book a place please email:

[email protected]

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Notes to the editors:

Save Your Rights (SYR) is a registered human rights charity (No – 1130378). SYR is a campaign committed to ending forced marriages, working in the UK and many other countries.

This news realise is published on 16 March 2016 and on behalf of SYR secretary Miss. Lynne Townley (LLB Hons, LLM, Barrister-at-law). For further information about this project, please write to us for the attention of project director to [email protected].


Anyone interested in supporting this multi-faith, multi-cultural campaigning organisation to end forced marriages contact:

Save Your Rights (SYR)

Email: [email protected]

Call/Text: +44 (0) 7988 841 228

(For help and advice [email protected])