party leader Jan Björklund
Liberal party leader Jan Björklund. Credit: Janerik Henriksson and Fredrik Sandberg/TT.

Liberals push for clamp-down on child marriage

1:33 min

The Liberal Party proposed widening Sweden's child marriage ban to include young migrants who have married overseas before coming to Sweden, party leader Jan Björklund told Swedish Radio.

In July 2014, Sweden strengthened its laws against forced marriage and child marriage. The country does not recognize marriages registered abroad if one of the parties is under 15 years old and the minimum age for marrying in Sweden is 18. However, Swedish law assumes all foreign marriages should be recognized if they are legal according to the laws of the country where the marriage took place.

"There are many young girls who have come to Sweden, they are still children, and suffering every day and the government does nothing," Björklund told Swedish Radio.

In Sweden, unions made abroad between an adult and someone under the age of 18 have been certified by Swedish authorities.

In 2015, Swedish Radio reported how the city of Malmö placed 59 minor-aged girls into housing with their adult husbands. Again in 2015, the Swedish Tax Agency mistakenly recognized the marriage between a 14-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man. Both were asylum seekers and the marriage was later annulled once authorities learned of it.

Björklund said this practice of legitimizing these unions should stop.

"So far, this is widely accepted in Sweden. These marriages have been approved, and the refugees are placed together. I mean it's unacceptable," he added.

The party's bill would make it illegal for any child under 18 to be considered as married in Sweden, even if the marriage takes place abroad.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
Du hittar dina sparade ljud i menyn under Min lista