Challenges in combating honor-based violence:

- Availability of reliable data:

Although honor killings are widely discussed, there are no reliable figures on the exact number. Although the number of outbreaks of honor-related violence is increasing according to NGOs, little information is available on its extent. Because honor-related violence is not infrequently covert, and there often seems to be some kind of conspiracy to keep honor-related crimes hidden from the outside world. What is clear is that the actual number of honor-related incidents will be much higher than the officially recorded number. For example, the Afghan Narges Achikzei, who was burned alive, is not included in the official figures as a victim of honor killing because the Dutch police chose to cover up this honor killing.

- Lack of trust in the government:

In countries where the police are unwilling to address honor-related violence, women do not see the police as an option to help with their problems. When a woman lives in a country where people cannot trust the police to seriously address honor killings and other forms of violence against women, the trust in the government in that community decreases. This situation is exacerbated for a woman with an uncertain residency status in a European country, as there is a perception that contact with the police will have negative consequences for the residency status of all involved, reducing the desire to report to the police.

- Lack of sufficient knowledge about honor-related violence:

Police officers and public sector employees may not have a good understanding of honor-related violence and therefore may not be able to recognize and resolve it in a timely manner. Police may also misinterpret the nature of honor crimes and categorize them as crimes of domestic violence without understanding the ideological basis of the crime. There is an urgent need for training in this area so that the police and other relevant agencies can recognize and respond appropriately to cases of honor-related violence.

- The existence of cultural barriers to reporting:

Women may be afraid to report to the police because of their cultural background and the perception that this type of violence is a private family matter that should not be shared with the outside world. Women do not always consider themselves victims when they try to file a report, but often feel guilty for doing so.

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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