By Syed Nasiruddin Peerzada
Women around the world suffer so-called “honour violence” at the hands of relatives, usually male, in an effort to reclaim family “honour.” If a woman or girl is accused or suspected of engaging in behaviour that could taint her family’s status, she may face brutal retaliation from her relatives that often results in violent death.
So-called “honour” crime is rooted in a global culture of discrimination against women, and the deeply rooted belief that women are objects and commodities, not human beings entitled to dignity and rights equal to those of men. Women’s bodies, particularly, are considered the repositories of family honour, and under the control and responsibility of her family (especially her male relatives). And large sections of society share traditional conceptions of family honour and approve of “honour” killings to preserve that honour.
The UN estimates that around 5,000 women and girls are murdered each year in so-called “honour killings” by members of their families,
Honour” killings are widely reported in regions throughout the Middle East and South Asia, but these crimes against women occur in countries as varied as Bangladesh, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Syria and Pakistan. Like other forms of violence against women, “honour” violence against women may be considered a form of torture, whether enacted by the state or by an individual.
Make no mistake: there is no honour in violence against women, and no cultural, social, or religious belief is ever a valid reason to commit violence against women, or deprive anyone of their fundamental human rights.
The murder of women in the name of “honour” is a gender-specific form of discrimination and violence and should be regarded as part of a larger spectrum of violence against women, as well as a serious human rights violation. Violence against women in a global epidemic, and it effects women in every country, at every level of society.
Any attack on women’s human rights threatens to reduce women to objects or devalue them as less than fully human, and as such, aids and abets in a global culture in which such horrific violence.