Nina Dethloff: "Child Brides on the Move - Legal Responses to Culture Clashes"


In Germany as in many other European countries, migration and the recent influx of refugees, in particular, has led to a raising number of child marriages. Girls are frequently married at a very early age either before leaving their home countries or while fleeing. This happens largely in accordance with the laws of their countries of origin. In Germany, the increasing presence of married young migrant girls has led to a heated public debate and to the introduction of the Bill to Combat Child Marriages which recently passed in the German Bundestag and will be debated on July 7, 2017, in the Bundesrat.

The presentation examines the phenomenon of child marriages among refugees and migrants. It critically evaluates the current law as well as the proposed reform taking into consideration diverging interests and guarantees. At stake is the protection against forced marriages and the safeguarding of the freedom to marry as well as the recognition and protection of a potentially existing family life including children already born out of the relationship. While in an increasingly globalized world different cultural traditions and concepts as well as religious beliefs and legal norms have to be taken into account and respected, some values and norms are deemed to be universal. This requires the careful drawing of a fine line in the case of marriages of minors.

Prof. Dr. Nina Dethloff

Nina Dethloff ist Inhaberin des Lehrstuhls für Bürgerliches Recht, Internationales Privatrecht, Rechtsvergleichung und Europäisches Privatrecht sowie Direktorin des Instituts für Deutsches, Europäisches und Internationales Familienrecht der Universität Bonn. Sie war von Oktober 2012 bis September 2013 Fellow am Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“. Seit Oktober 2015 ist sie geschäftsführende Direktorin des Käte Hamburger Kollegs.