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Feb 16 09 3:28 PM

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International Campaign against honor killings
Over 5000 women and girls are killed every year by family members in so-called 'honour killings', according to the UN. These crimes occur where cultures believe that a woman's unsanctioned sexual behaviour brings such shame on the family that any female accused or suspected must be murdered. Reasons for these murders can be as trivial as talking to a man, or as innocent as suffering rape.

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Mar 31 09 11:52 AM


Turkey has cracked down on honour killings and as a result, the numbers of women being forced to commit suicide by their families has risen.

Vildan Yirmibesoglu, the head of Istanbul's department of human rights. "This clash of cultures is making the situation worse as the pressure on women to behave conservatively is become more acute. And of course there are more temptations."

Ms Yirmibesoglu believes that the entrenched belief in the notion of honour – at all levels of society – is impeding any progress. "Honour killings aren't always properly investigated because some police and prosecutors share the same views as the honour killers," she said. "For things to change, police, prosecutors and even judges need to be educated on gender equality."

From the Comments section of that article:

A similar epidemic in Iraqi Kurdistan
Kurdistan Observer 9/30/2007

In 2007 Iraqi Kurdistan health care professionals and women's experts reported a "suicide epidemic in which Kurdistan's girls and young women are setting themselves on fire. Kurdistan, a largely self-governing region doesn't have accurate historical health data, but there were at least 360 female-burning suicides last year." Some victims are as young as 12, but most range from age 15 to 25 ...Hundreds more have survived with horrible scars, only to have their husbands and friends desert them and parents hide them. (Kurdistan Observer 9.30.07)

According to the Kurdish Human Rights ministry, one theory for the self-immolations, which rose from 36 in 2005 to 133 in 2006, is that as penalties for murdering women have stiffened, men coerce women into killing themselves. (AP 10.6.07)

Opponents of the law accuse Karzai of pandering to the Shia minority whose swing vote is crucial.

While the Afghanistan constitution guarantees equal rights for women, it says the Shia population can settle cases based on Shia law.

Afghanistan would not let the U.N. see a copy of the bill, and a Karzai spokesperson would not comment.


President Hamid Karzai has signed a law the UN says legalises rape in marriage and prevents women from leaving the house without permission.

The bill passed both houses of the Afghan parliament, but was so contentious that the United Nations and women's rights campaigners have so far been unable to see a copy of the approved bill.

Shinkai Zahine Karokhail, a female MP, said the law had been rushed through with little debate.
She told the Guardian newspaper: "They wanted to pass it almost like a secret negotiation, "There were lots of things that we wanted to change, but they didn't want to discuss it because Karzai wants to please the Shia before the election."

The Afghan justice ministry confirmed the law had been signed, but said it would not be published until technical difficulties had been overcome.

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