Challenges in combating honor-based violence (Part II):

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- Killings in Backward Areas:

In some cases, victims of honor violence have been persuaded or tricked into returning to their home countries where there is often either less support for the victim or inefficient and corrupt police, allowing the perpetrator to commit the crime without fear of retribution.

- Silence:

The main obstacle to the legal prosecution of honor-based violence is silence. The tendency to remain silent causes few people to report to the police and the courts. Sometimes silence around honor-based violence is common in the culture of the victim, making it very unlikely that anyone other than the victim will press charges.

- Professional killers:

In some communities, there are agencies that track down young people who have run away from home and bring them back home. It is also possible for people in such communities to easily hire a professional killer. In the UK, for example, it is estimated that 1 in 8 honor killings is committed by a professional hitman. If a family hires a professional killer to kill a family member, it means the victim is at high risk.

- Underage killers:

In places where honor killings are punishable like other murders, families usually force a younger family member to commit the murder because those who kill at a younger age receive shorter sentences. This crime is committed against two parties: the person who was coerced into murder and the victim herself.

- Lack of support for NGOs:

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that specialize in combating honor-based violence, FGM, and advocate for women's rights are one of the most effective sources of awareness and assistance, especially in bridging cultural sensitivities and raising awareness around honor killings. However, they often face budget shortfalls and limited staff and may struggle to provide their services.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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