is the usual policy process in Britain,
the committee will draw up a series of recommendations
based on the consultation, which will be
open to all. The recommendations will inform
the government on how best to tackle the
issues. The initiative, announced by committee
chairman and Asian MP Keith Vaz Monday,
came after a coroner at an inquest last
week ruled that an Asian teenager who was
being forced into an arranged marriage by
her Pakistani parents was the victim of
a "very vile murder".
decomposed body of 17-year-old Shafilea
Ahmed was found near the bank of the River
Kent in Cumbria, five months after her schoolteachers
reported her missing in September 2003,
soon after she returned from a trip to Pakistan.
Shafilea's tragic case was widely reported
in Britain and has evoked strong sympathy
for young second generation Asian women
who are forced into marriages.
Ian Smith also said he believed the concept
of an arranged marriage was "central"
to the circumstances leading up to her death.
had earlier launched a murder inquiry and
arrested her parents on suspicion of kidnapping
her, but both were released without charge.
Eight other family members from Bradford
were arrested on suspicion of perverting
the course of justice, but they too were
released without charge.
her inquest, a social worker responsible
for providing housing said Shafilea had
come to her seeking advice, claiming she
had been beaten and robbed by her parents.
statement Shafilea wrote to support a housing
claim said: "I had saved £2,000,
which they took out of my bank account.
My parents are going to send me to Pakistan
and I'll be married to someone and left
there. There had been a build-up of violence
towards me, and my mother told me I was
about to go to Pakistan for an arranged
launching the parliamentary initiative Monday,
said the voices of victims of forced marriage
and "honour crimes" were "not
often enough heard". He said domestic
violence - whether by a relative, spouse
or partner - constituted about 15% of all
violent crime and killed two women every
week in England and Wales. "Huge numbers
of women and men are affected daily by these
crimes. Yet their voices are not often enough
heard," he said.
want to listen to those who have experienced
domestic abuse and forced marriage, since
they know better than anyone else what works
and what doesn't. What they say in the consultation
will help us decide our recommendations
to the government," added the MP whose
Leicester East constituency has a large
12 people each year are thought to be victims
of so-called honour killings in Britain,
after supposedly behaving in a way that
brings shame to their families. A Forced
Marriage Unit at the British Home Ministry
receives 5,000 inquiries a year and handles
300 cases. The government is also consulting
experts on new immigration rules to stop
Siddiqui, head of the Muslim Parliament
in Britain, said he was certain the schoolgirl,
who wanted to go to university and become
a lawyer, was the victim of an honour killing.
"I think relatives won't speak out
because they are scared," he said.
"Somebody in the family disappears,
relatives must have been concerned. But
they would not cooperate with the police.
The family and those who were close were
not willing to come forward. That's why
many of these murders are unresolved."