[violence] honour crimes

We have recently received information from Asian Human Rights Commission that a tribal leader of Sindh province has held three women and two children in his private jail and one woman has been continuously raped for more than three years. She has had two children whilst in custody. The Sindh High Court and the provincial police have been unable to recover the five persons from his jail. The tribal leader held a Jirga, a parallel judicial system of feudal society announcing the murder of one of the men. This man and his wife were declared as Karo (black male) and Kari (black women).

The fabric of Pakistani society, in general, seems to be afflicted with hypocrisy. At a recent seminar organised by the Aurat Foundation and the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), titled ‘Crimes in the name of honour and parallel legal system,’ representatives from various political parties were invited to provide input about what they believed was the solution to honour killings.

The forms of violence referred to as “harmful cultural or traditional practices” have been addressed by the United Nations for many years. These forms of violence include female genital mutilation, female infanticide and prenatal sex selection, child marriage, forced marriage, dowry-related violence, acid attacks, so-called “honour” crimes, and maltreatment of widows.

Balochistan does not have a vibrant middle class nor does it have an active civil society. The media are too restricted and operate unprofessionally with the intention not to offend the government and the tribal chiefs. Perhaps it is this reason that Balochistan is absolutely quite even after the barbaric killing of four women in different incidents in a period of barely one week. Women have been killed brutally by their own close family members in Balochistan’s districts located on the Sindh border on suspicion of having illicit relations with other men. The wired justification given for these reprehensible murders is the “family honor” that is presumably compromised by the “immoral girls”.

Today a Kurdish family hit the headlines after the father of a 15-year-old schoolgirl who disappeared without trace 10 years ago was jailed for a minimum of 22 years after being found guilty of murdering her in a so-called "honour killing". Tulay Goren was killed on 7 January 1999 after falling in love with Halil Unal, a fellow Turkish Kurd twice her age, and running away from home to live with him. Her family disapproved because he was a Sunni Muslim while they were Alevis, a different branch of Islam. Police believe Tulay's body was buried temporarily in the back garden of the family home, but her remains have never been recovered. According to media reports, the family, originally from Elbistan, in south-eastern Turkey, adhered to the code of namus, or honour, practised in many rural communities there.

وجّه مدعي عام محكمة الجنايات الكبرى في عمّان، الثلاثاء 29-9-2009، تهمة القتل العمد لثلاثة أشقاء أردنيين قتلوا شقيقتهم وأضرموا النار بمنزلها في "جريمة شرف" جديدة في المملكة، حسب ما أفاد مصدر قضائي.

Legal experts and religious leaders insist that there should be no exemption for so-called honour crimes under the law.
Syria has scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences handed down to men convicted of killing female relatives they suspect of having illicit sex.
Journalist Ayse Onal's coverage of the Turkish men who murdered their sisters and mothers in "honor" killings finds they often feel betrayed by their families. Many killers also want to guide other men away from such crimes.
Sharaf Heroes is an anti-honour violence project launched in 2003 by the anti-racist and feminist Swedish organisation Electra. It seeks to educate young men from different backgrounds and religions in human rights and equality.
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