The University of Maastricht, in collaboration with the National Working Group Mudawannah, Refugees Organizations Netherlands (VON), the Clara Wichmann Foundation and Atria, conducted a thorough research into marital captivity in the Netherlands over the past 4 years and what can be done against this - in particular from a legal point of view. On 13 September, the final conclusions of this research will be presented during this conference.
In the Netherlands people can marry in different ways; either civilly, religiously, or in both ways. Dissolving a civil marriage is usually not too difficult to achieve. Obtaining a religious divorce, on the other hand, can be a real challenge, especially for women of migrant or refugee background. A civil divorce pronounced by a Dutch court will not end a religious marriage; or when there is no civil marriage and a couple only entered a religious marriage – how and where can one get a religious divorce or annulment? The situation in which a couple is legally and/or physically separated yet religiously still married, can be denoted as being in a state of ‘marital captivity’.