‘Honor’ crimes

The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization obtained information from police agencies that track “honor killings” and assaults, kidnappings and threats designed to punish or coerce women, The Guardian reported.

Fionnuala Ni Mhurchu, the organization’s campaign officer, said there may be a number of reasons for the increase. Police are becoming more aware of honor crimes while young women from traditional communities are less accepting of old practices.

“They’re resisting abuses of their human rights such as forced marriage more and more,” she said. “And as a result they’re being subjected to this kind of violence. We hear from the community that this violence is on the increase.”

In India more than 5,000 brides die annually because their dowries are considered insufficient, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Crimes of passion, which are treated extremely leniently in Latin America, are the same thing with a different name, some rights advocates say.

“In countries where Islam is practiced, they’re called honor killings, but dowry deaths and so-called crimes of passion have a similar dynamic in that the women are killed by male family members and the crimes are perceived as excusable or understandable,” said Widney Brown, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

The practice, she said, “goes across cultures and across religions.”

Complicity by other women in the family and the community strengthens the concept of women as property and the perception that violence against family members is a family and not a judicial issue.

“Females in the family—mothers, mothers-in-law, sisters, and cousins—frequently support the attacks. It’s a community mentality,” said Zaynab Nawaz, a program assistant for women’s human rights at Amnesty International.

Read more: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/02/0212_020212_honorkilling.html

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