Friday, February 3

Honor crimes shake Pakistan with a thousand women murdered a year


  • Murders for “dishonoring” the family usually go unpunished or have reduced sentences

The murder fingers pakistani sisters who resided in Terrasa on the part of their own family has brought to light the scourge of honor crimes in the South Asian country. In Pakistan, about 1,000 women are murdered each year because of what are known as honor crimes, according to the Global Report on Human Rights Watch (HRW) in 2022.

According to the definition of this humanitarian organization, these types of crimes are acts of violence, usually murderscommitted by male family members against female members who are considered to have dishonored the family.

The Pakistani sisters, aged 20 and 24, were strangled and fatally shot in their sleep. The crime was committed by members of his own family, after the young women, residing in Catalonia, requested a divorce from their cousins, with whom they had been forcibly married. The event has put the spotlight on the honor crimes and the arranged marriageswhich are one more way of violence against women.

Human Rights Watch notes that in Pakistan the violence against girls and women endemic, with crimes such as murder, kidnapping, acid attacks, domestic violence or forced marriages. In addition, a thousand women are murdered each year for honor crimes, according to human rights defenders.

The Parliament passed in 2016 a law that imposes harsher punishments for these crimes and partially eliminated the legal loophole of pardon for these crimes, after the blogger Qandel Baloch was killed by his brother for “disgracing” the family, causing widespread protest in the country. However, these cases usually continue to go unpunished and Baloch’s own brother was acquitted after his parents “pardoned” him.

Countries with ‘honor killings’

In other countries, this type of ‘honour killings’. Specifically, in Arab Emiratesthe law allows families of the murder victim to give up their right to see the guilty person punished in exchange for compensation – known as blood money – or else freely choose to pardon them. In these cases, the defendant can be subjected to a minimum sentence of seven years in prison instead of life imprisonment. In honor killings, the victim’s family is also the murderer’sso men are likely to receive lighter sentences.

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For its part, according to the HRW report, in Iranthe Penal Code includes reduced sentences for violent acts, including murder, for ‘honor reasons’ or for finding the wife or female relative committing adultery or sex outside of marriage. Along the same lines, the Criminal Code in Bahrain also reduces penalties perpetrators of so-called honor crimes.

These kinds of discriminatory laws expose women to violence and sometimes they are sentenced to death, with a message of impunity for the perpetrators of the crimes.

arranged marriages

Likewise, the forced marriages -both children and adults- are another form of violence against women. In the case of Pakistanchild marriage is a serious problem in the country, since the 18% of girls marry before 18 years and 4% do so before the age of 15. In this sense, the HRW report points out that the Government of Pakistan has done little to stop this type of arranged marriages and specifies that religious minority women are particularly vulnerable to arranged weddings.

Arranged child marriages also cause girls leave school at young ages, as in the case of Nepal and Nigeria. Specific, Nepal has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Asia, as the 33% of girls marry before the age of 18 years and 8% do so at 15 years. In the case of children, 9% get married before the age of 18.

For its part, in Nigeria no legislation against child marriage, which allows many families to force their daughters to marry early. According to a 2018 Unicef ​​estimate, 22 million girls and women were married in childhood, about 40% of all child brides in the West and Central Africa region.

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Also, the pandemic coronavirus too a arranged marriages increased, which are closely related to school dropout. With school closures and rising poverty, many girls in India, Bangladeshi either syrian refugees in Jordan or Lebanon were seen forced by their families to marry, which has prevented them from resuming their educational training.

allowed by law

In the case of South Sudan, child marriage is also widespread. According to Unicef, more than half of South Sudanese girls – the 52%- between 15 and 18 years old are married and some even marry at age 12.

For its part, Malaysia also allows the child marriage by civil and Islamic laws and girls aged 16 and 17 can marry with the permission of the chief minister of their state. For Muslims, most state Islamic laws set a minimum age of 16 for girls and 18 for boys, although boys are permitted. marriages below that age with the permission of a Sharia court.

Along the same lines, in Moroccothe Family Code establishes the 18 minimum age for marriage. However, it allows judges to grant exemptions to marry girls from 15 to 18 at the request of his family.

They do not comply with judicial decisions

Countries like Tanzania have also not outlawed child marriage, despite the fact that in this country a Supreme Court decisionin 2016, forced to modify the Marriage Law to raise the legal age from marriage to 18 years for girls and boys.

For its part, Zimbabwe Nor did it apply the ban on child marriages during 2021 and this is a practice that continues very widespread, mainly among the indigenous apostolic churches. Also violate the rule of the Constitutional Courtwhich declared child marriages unconstitutional in 2016 and set the minimum age at 18 for marriage for girls and boys, without exceptions.

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Common in the West

Child marriage is more common in Developing countries, since economic poverty is one of the main causes of these unions. In this sense, according to figures from International Amnesty in 2021, the figures are higher in sub-saharan africawhere approximately four out of ten young people marry before the age of 18, and in the South of Asiawhere it occurs in three out of ten. These two areas are followed by Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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However, child marriage occurs in all parts of the world, such as USAwhere the most states continue to allow marriage before 18 years and, according to a study of Unchained at Last -a non-profit organization that seeks to end forced and child marriage-, near 300,000 under the age of 18 got marriedLegally in the US between 2000 and 2018.

Also, in the case of Spainthe minimum legal age to get married is 16 yearsdespite the fact that the Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended that it be raised to 18.


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