29 April 2008

Denmark - The Land of One Wife

Denmark has given an Iraqi man four weeks to decide which of his two wives he wishes to remain legally married to. The circumstances to this dilemma are interesting. The Iraqi worked as an interpreter for Danish troops while they were stationed in Iraq.

The Iraqi man had two wives, this is presumably not a problem for the Danes while they were doing their thing in Iraq. However, when the Danes decided to pull out it was decided that the interpreter was a person who would be at risk if he were to remain in Iraq. He and his two wives were granted asylum in Denmark...

This is not necessarily a life and death decision as both wives were granted asylum in Denmark, so both can stay no matter what the final decision of the husband is. But what a choice to have to make as the man has children with both women!

The choice is to divorce one or presumably be prosecuted under Danish law for offences relating to polygamy. By all reports the Iraqi man is going to divorce one of the wives rather than face a trial.

An interesting question is whether the forcing of the Iraqi man to choose is a violation of his human rights or whether the permitting of a polygamous relationship in Denmark is a violation of the wives' human rights? Nothing like a good dilemma to stir debate.

5 comments:

zab said...

"An interesting question is whether the forcing of the Iraqi man to choose is a violation of his human rights or whether the permitting of a polygamous relationship in Denmark is a violation of the wives' human rights?"

The question is not about human rights. It's about the law. If you are a host in another country, you must submit to the law. Love it or leave it. It's well known that polygamy is a crime in the the west.

Why do western woman have to behave under islamic law while visiting or living in islamic countries? Shoud that also be considered a violation of human rights? No, although to the definition of women human rights, islam is light years way from knowing what it means...

Both wifes were granted permition to stay in Denmark. They just have to figure out a way to stay together, respecting the law of the country. Very easy.

Rob Baiton said...

Zab...

Thanks for leaving a comment! I would agree that if you are a guest in a country then you are indeed subject to the laws and regulations that apply.

The question I was posing was whether it is in fact the law? Does Denmark have similar legislation to other countries where recognition of marriage is based on reciprocity and provided it is legal in the country of origin it is also legal in the host country...

The human rights angle was really looking at whether there was a superior obligation under international law that protected the rights of the parties in this case.

In a practical sense he divorces one and they all remain living together. Although I am not certain I would not imagine there is a Danish law that prohibits a man from living with his ex-wife and his current wife at the same time :)

So, I am certain that they will make it work for themselves!

treespotter said...

it is a very interesting case... toldya, polygamy is basic right :p

Rob Baiton said...

Tree...

I have to do more reading on this one!

For me a scenario where you have a man (no need to be Muslim as some Mormons still feel they have a right ot practice polygamy) living with a lawful wife and up to three other "girlfriends" under the same roof because he cannot legally marry them, is distinctly possible!

Nah, does this kind of domestic situation violate the law (more research required for a number of countries) or the human rights of the parties involved if they are all "cool" with the arrangement?

The current case in Texas (I think) where there was a whole compound of polygamists is a case in point on how law enforcement may be forced to handle cases such as these...

So, if this fella ends up divorcing one of his wives and then the ex lives at the same house and he continues to have an off-the-record conjugal relationship with her then this is still a polygamous relationship and technically in breach of the law, right?

As I said more research required...

treespotter said...

As far as i know, in the states, many Mormons practice polygamy without the legal matrimony and i'm pretty certain they don't break any laws. it only breaks the law (as with the current case and the one in the 50s when the National Guard stormed the compound) when they married twice.

Off the record conjugal shouldn't be any problem at all.

I'm more interested in the part where the state 'mandates' a divorce on its citizen :D