Three expat sisters refuse to board plane to avoid forced marriage Filed on December 13, 2013

The girls told the police they were born and lived in the UAE and were scared that their newly married father would force them to marry in Mauritania.

Three young Mauritanian sisters who refused to travel to their home country because they feared being forced into marriage, were put up in the Dubai Women and Children’s Foundation after the General Department of Human Rights intervened.

The flight on which the girls were to travel on Tuesday was delayed as they refused to board the plane, but the situation was later resolved after the girls agreed that they would be accompanied by their estranged mother to their home country to live.

Dr Mohammed Al Murr of the General Department of Human Rights said that an employee of the Immigration Department at the Dubai Police informed the Women and Children’s Protection Department of the Dubai Police about the three girls, aged 21, 15, and 12, who were allegedly being forced to travel back home to stay with other family members there.

The three girls told the police they were born in the UAE and spent their life here and were scared that their father would force them to marry in Mauritania.

Their father, who has been in the UAE for 30 years, tried to send the girls back to their home country as he had recently married a new woman in Dubai, and said he couldn’t cope looking after her children as well as his own.

Upon refusing to board the plane, the girls said they did not know their father’s family well enough and were scared to go and live with them.

The girls’ mother, who the father had divorced some years back, was living in Tanzania where she too married another man, but later divorced him.

Al Murr said the Human Rights Department called the father, and informed him of the incident at the airport.

The father, who worked as sales representative in the country said he married the girls’ mother in 1991, and when they divorced, she travelled to her home country and remarried, leaving the girls in his care.

The father said he decided to send the girls back home because he could not pay their expenses, after marrying the woman, who had three children of her own.

He said while in Dubai his daughters were in the care of one of his Moroccan friends here.

Director of Social Care and Follow Up at the Human Rights Department Ahmed Al Shahi, confirmed that the Dubai Police contacted the Women and Children’s Foundation in Dubai to host the three girls while the matter was being resolved.

They also requested the mother return to the UAE to be with the children and helped the father bring the mother over on a visit visa to Dubai.

When she arrived in the country, the estranged mother stayed with the girls at the foundation, and with the consent of their father, it was agreed that the mother would travel and live with the daughters in Mauritania, with the father agreeing to provide them with food, education and regular money.

Amira Agarib

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