Why Does Honor Killing Occur? How can we end it?

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At the DPI briefing in November on violence against women this video about honor killing was shown.

In 2003, a man fatally stabbed his daughter twenty-five times because she refused to tell him where she had been following a three-week absence. In 2002, a man killed his sister after seeing her “talking to a strange man during a wedding party.” In 2001, a man killed his sister “after seeing a man leave her house.”   Honoring the Killers – Human Rights Watch

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 5000 honor killings occur worldwide each year. Most victims of honor killings are women and girls who are said to have dishonored their families by refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, attempting to leave an abusive husband, being the victim of sexual assault, having a relationship outside of the their own tribal or religious group or allegedly committing adultery. There is evidence that some men have been killed by their relatives because they were homosexuals.

Honor killings had been reported in Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Punjab, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Yemen, and other Mediterranean and Persian Gulf countries. They have also taken place in Europe and North America within migrant communities.

Honor killings, regardless of where they take place are a gross violation of human rights. In some countries where the practice is deeply rooted, ending impunity for killers and programs to change the minds and hearts of men and boys is slowly leading to change.

Countries in Europe and North America treat honor killings like any other murder, but struggle to find ways to integrate migrants into western society that are religiously and culturally sensitive. For an interesting perspective on this read: “The Whore Lived Like a German”,  from Spiegel Online International.

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