Trapped in a religious marriage: A human rights perspective on the phenomenon of marital captivity

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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Marital captivity describes a situation in which one or both spouses are unable to dissolve their marriage due to religious reasons. The consequence is that they are essentially forced to remain married. The aim of this research was to contribute to the ongoing efforts of finding effective solutions by investigating how human rights law can contribute to addressing marital captivity. A human rights approach advances the process of finding solutions in that it provides for a universally recognised framework to consider and balance the conflicting interests that are at the centre of marital captivity. Within the context of marital captivity, the advancement of gender equality and the protection of women’s rights are goals that should be given priority over the preservation of religious practices and manifestations that undermine gender equality and women’s rights. A human rights approach is also solution oriented in that it reveals that States have positive obligations to take preventive and protective measures to address marital captivity effectively. The religious dimension of marital captivity does not absolve States from these obligations.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Flinterman, Cornelis, Supervisor
  • de Groot, Gerard, Supervisor
  • Rutten, Susanne, Supervisor
Award date4 Apr 2019
Print ISBNs9781780688428
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Religion
  • Human rights
  • divorce
  • women’s rights
  • marital captivity

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