Friday, 2 November 2012

15 year old girl murdered by parents for 'looking at boys' - A look at 'honour killings'

A 15 year old Pakistani girl has died by being doused with acid and beaten by her parents for 'looking at boys on motorbikes'. The girl died after her parents failed to call for help.
The full article on BBC Urdu about the court case can be found here:

This is another example of ‘honour killings’, when male family members take it on themselves to punish, and sometimes kill female family members for ‘dishonouring’ the family. Here is what Amnesty International has to say about honour killings:

"In some societies, women are often looked upon as representatives of the honor of the family. When women are suspected of extra-marital sexual relations, even if in the case of rape, they can be subjected to the cruelest forms of indignity and violence, often by their own fathers or brothers. Women who are raped and are unable to provide explicit evidence, are sometimes accused of zina, or the crime of unlawful sexual relations, the punishment for which is often death by public stoning...
...Assuming an accused woman's guilt, male family members believe that they have no other means of undoing a perceived infringement of "honor" other than to kill the woman."

Acid burning seems to be used prolifically when punishing women. Women who turn down a suitor, or do not get on with their new in-laws run the risk of having their faces or bodies covered in acid. This can cause blindness, and horrendous third-degree burns over the body.

I am horrified by the sheer number of women who are murdered in this way! According to the BBC article, 943 women were murdered in honour killings in 2011 alone. I’m trying to find out if this is for the world, or just Pakistan. Either way, it is a sickeningly high number.

So are the culprits being punished? The Amnesty International website says:

“Governments do little to prevent the sale of acid to the public or to punish those who use it to kill and maim.”

After doing a very quick google of the issue, I came across another recent incident where 5 women in Pakistan were thought that have been killed for clapping their hands to men dancing at a wedding. View the video here of the incident:

So what are we going to do about this? I am going to write to Amnesty and ask them if there are any current campaigns or petitions lobbying politicians to pay more attention and to do something about acid attacks and honour killings. I will also do my own research into petitions and campaigns and post any findings on this blog. If you come across any campaigns or petitions that are specific for this issue PLEASE post a comment below.

As so eloquently put by the Amnesty website:

Violence against women is a violation of human rights that cannot be justified by any political, religious, or cultural claim.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Rach, I hope people do read your blog other than me... Just that they don't comment! Did you write to Amnesty? Have you applied to work for them yet? Or still holding out for the UN?

    Obviously it's a horrible matter. I met someone in person that had received severe acid burns and could only see out of one eye, for being seen talking to another man. At which point I wasn't sure if I should keep talking to her...

    Petition link below, not overly subscribed, so if you'd really like to help the matter, get your friends to signing it too.

    Keep on saving the world. xx