The British newspaper, The Observer, reports that within the last five years there have been at least 20 deaths in Britain that are linked to so-called crimes of "honour". The United Nations Population Fund estimates that, globally, as many as 5,000 women and girls are murdered by members of their own families, usually a close male relative, for acts that so-call "dishonour" their families. Across the globe in countries like Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Sweden, Turkey and Uganda women and girls have been brutally killed because they were raped, suspected of loosing their virginity, looking at a male who is not their husband or close family relative and taking walks without the permission of their family.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the only United Nations body that exclusively addresses women's rights, has condemned such "honour" driven violence as gruesome. The committee monitors global compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and recently won a major victory with the ratification of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, which will take effect in December 2000. The protocol grants the committee legal authority to seek redress for gender discrimination on the behalf of women and women's rights groups who have exhausted their national systems. Legal prosecutions for perpetuators of so called "honour" killings remain few and largely without stiff penalties. Perpetuators of these crimes often go without any jail time but in a few cases some may receive sentences from zero to six months in jail, oddly in countries where persons charged with murder are often sentenced with death.
Media Resources: The Observer 8 October 2000, Feminist Global News Wire