Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Robert Fisk on Honour Killings

Surjit Athwal: Murdered in 1998 by her in-laws on a trip to the Indian Punjab for daring to seek a divorce from an unhappy marriage 

Du'a Khalil Aswad: Aged 17, she was stoned to death in Nineveh, Iraq, by a mob of 2,000 men for falling in love with a man outside her tribe

Fakhra Khar: In 2001 in Karachi, her husband poured acid on her face, after she left him and returned to her mother's home in the red-light district of the city 

Heshu Yones: The 16-year-old was stabbed to death by her Muslim father Abdullah, in west London in 2002, because he disapproved of her Christian boyfriend

Robert Fisk writes on the unreported and unpunished murders of honour killings.


Robert Fisk: The crimewave that shames the world

It's one of the last great taboos: the murder of at least 20,000 women a year in the name of 'honour'. Nor is the problem confined to the Middle East: the contagion is spreading rapidly

It is a tragedy, a horror, a crime against humanity. The details of the murders – of the women beheaded, burned to death, stoned to death, stabbed, electrocuted, strangled and buried alive for the "honour" of their families – are as barbaric as they are shameful. Many women's groups in the Middle East and South-west Asia suspect the victims are at least four times the United Nations' latest world figure of around 5,000 deaths a year. Most of the victims are young, many are teenagers, slaughtered under a vile tradition that goes back hundreds of years but which now spans half the globe.

A 10-month investigation by The Independent in Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt, Gaza and the West Bank has unearthed terrifying details of murder most foul. Men are also killed for "honour" and, despite its identification by journalists as a largely Muslim practice, Christian and Hindu communities have stooped to the same crimes. Indeed, the "honour" (or ird) of families, communities and tribes transcends religion and human mercy. But voluntary women's groups, human rights organisations, Amnesty International and news archives suggest that the slaughter of the innocent for "dishonouring" their families is increasing by the year. 

Iraqi Kurds, Palestinians in Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey appear to be the worst offenders but media freedoms in these countries may over-compensate for the secrecy which surrounds "honour" killings in Egypt – which untruthfully claims there are none – and other Middle East nations in the Gulf and the Levant. But honour crimes long ago spread to Britain, Belgium, Russia and Canada and many other nations. Security authorities and courts across much of the Middle East have connived in reducing or abrogating prison sentences for the family murder of women, often classifying them as suicides to prevent prosecutions. 

One of the great ironies of this is that some of these violations of human rights are happening in the UK - so if we want to fight a war in the name of human rights, why not fight it at home,  on our own doorstep. Yet little is done to stop this kind of abuse and the voluntary organisations that try to inform, educate and help people in forced marriages and suffering abuse are underfunded and understaffed.

Karma Nirvana is a registered Charity that supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour based abuse. The words Karma Nirvana simply mean 'Peace and Enlightenment' as we hope our victims will achieve this through our work


Stan B. said...

For the life of me, I could never understand why men fear/hate women so much (as if they're any the more screwed up than we are). Mix that in together with fundamentalist religion, and these are the kinds of blatant obscenities that result...

Jean Markale said...

" Mix that in together with fundamentalist religion, and these are the kinds of blatant obscenities that result..."

Identify where in the Qur'an "honour killings" are commanded.

colin pantall said...

Well yes, that's the point of it - identify in the Koran, in the Bible, in Hindu scriptures. And even if you can, so what...

Anonymous said...

Leviticus 20:10-14 calls for stoning to death people who have had various forms of sex out of wedlock, a good reason for not taking scripture literally.

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