A CAMPAIGNER against forced marriage is urging schools in Lancashire to work proactively to combat the issue.
Alex Jones, who founded a nationwide campaign dedicated to murdered Shafilea Ahmed, said his organisation, ‘It’s my right – No Forced Marriages’, is looking to establish a series of long-term progressive measures that will directly enable schools and the community to be proactive in tackling Forced Marriages.
The measures will take the form of a dedicated ‘Shafilea Ahmed education programme’.
Shafilea, 17, ran away to Blackburn before being killed by her parents in Warrington because she was Westernised, and refused to obey them.
The organisation is calling for the schools, colleges and youth centres to be a part of the education campaign.
Mr Jones also wishes to establish an official ‘Certified Forced Marriage training course’ for teachers and community leaders, to help them spot the signs of forced marriage and know how to help victims.
Mr Jones said his organisation is also looking for a law firm to help establish a law scholarship in Shafilea Ahmed’s name, which he said is a direct investment into those who will potentially save lives.
Mr Jones said: “With the commitment of all aspects of society to building the long-term infrastructure we can effectively break the cycle that Forced Marriage is untouchable and save more lives like Shafilea from being lost “The biggest area that must be tackled is in the continuing perception that forced marriage is untouchable because it is cultural.
“It has to be realised that ‘forced marriage, shame, honour’ have to be seen for what they all really are, terminology of further attacks on human rights.
“The prevailing barrier, ‘that we can't act because it’s culture’ only goes to give this heinous crime a strengthened voice.”