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News and Views: September 2008

90 honour killings reported in first quarter of 2008

By Akhtar Amin
Daily Times

PESAHWAR: Cases of honour killing are on the rise in Pakistan as 90 such cases were reported all over the country in the first quarter (January to March) of 2008, says a report compiled by a non-governmental organisation (NGO)Aurat Foundation (AF).

Out of the 90 cases, 36 were reported in Balochistan, 35 in Sindh, 11 in Punjab and eight in NWFP.

19-year-old handed reduced sentence for murdering his sister

By Rana Husseini
Jordon Times

AMMAN - A 19-year-old who killed his divorced sister in the name of family honour when he was a minor in September 2006, walked free from the Criminal Court on Monday after receiving a reduced sentence.

The court sentenced the defendant, who was 17 at the time of the murder, to serve 16 months at a juvenile centre after convicting him of stabbing his 24-year-old sibling to death at their family's home on September 19.

A Man Is Valued By His Sister’s Behaviour: Ruling On An Honor Crime

The story is as follows. A wife and mother tells her husband that she’s been sleeping around with other men in exchange for money and wants a divorce. So they go to a lawyer’s office and she writes down the names of all these men, for what reason, I cannot possibly comprehend. Then she’s taken to her parents’ home where her father ties her up so she won’t leave. She was made to rewrite the list in front of her family, for what reason, I cannot possibly comprehend.

Sexual cleansing in Iraq

Islamist deaths squads are hunting down gay Iraqis and summarily executing them

Peter Tatchell
Thursday September 25 2008 07:00 BST

Some of the links in this article will take you to sites containing images of violence which you may find disturbing

Germany: Honor violence on the roads

A 21-year old German-Turkish woman who caused a fatal accident between Emmerich and Kleve in which two Dutch motorcyclists were killed had been chased by her brother.

According to German newspaper Rheinische Post the young Turkish driver from Kleve wanted to break with her family. Her brother started chasing her when she left home for Hamburg. Both cars chased each other at speeds about 140 km/h over the provincial road between Emmerich and Kleve, where the speed limit is 70 km/h. The chase came to dangerous overtaking maneuvers.

LIBERIA: FGM continues in rural secrecy

MONROVIA, 24 September 2008 (IRIN) - Thousands of young girls annually prepare for their initiation into a women’s secret association, Sande Society, which operates mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. As part of their initiation, young women take a vow of secrecy after weeks of training in the forest, promising not to not tell uninitiated girls or men what happens to them, to assume new names, and to have their clitorises cut off - known as female
genital mutilation (FGM) - according to women in the secret society.

Man sentenced over Shia flogging

Story from BBC NEWS:

A devout Shia Muslim has been given a suspended prison sentence for making two boys beat themselves during a religious ceremony.

A jury at Manchester Crown Court found Syed Mustafa Zaidi, 44, guilty of two counts of child cruelty last month.

The boys, aged 13 and 15, were urged to beat themselves with a zanjeer whip, with five curved blades.

Zaidi, of Station Road, Eccles, was given a 26-week sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Pacific girls raised to feel inferior, United Nations told – but work to boost their rights is underway

A Pacific political leader has told the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that the region’s girls are raised to feel inferior to boys and men, with culture and custom often invoked to justify discrimination and violence against girls.

“The girl child is, in many countries, typically at the bottom of the hierarchy and socialised to a sense of inferiority,” said The Honorable Willy Telavi, Tuvalu’s Minister for Home Affairs.

UN Human Rights Council takes up racism and defamation of religions

19 September 2008 – The United Nations Human Rights Council, currently meeting in its ninth session, discussed racism, racial discrimination and the defamations of religions today in Geneva.

In his first address to the 47-member panel, Githu Muigai, the new Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, presented a report by his predecessor, Doudou Diène.

That report deals with the defamation of religions, in particular the serious ramifications of Islamophobia.

Declaration on Burying Women Alive/Killing of Women in the Name of "Honour" and other Customary Practices

Burying Five Women Alive in Naseerabad and the Customary Practices

ISLAMABAD: Representatives of civil society organizations and committed activists from all over Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Jacobabad, Khairpur, Larkana, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Naseerabad, Mardan, Swabi and Islamabad gathered here in Islamabad for a national consultation on 18 September 2008, on the issue of ‘Burying Five Women Alive in Naseerabad and the Customary Practices’.

Iran: Controversial film a hit at Toronto festival

Rome, 16 Sept. (AKI) - An Iranian feature film that tells the story of a woman being stoned to death has made headlines at the Toronto Film Festival and provoked an angry response from Iranian authorities.

The film, entitled 'The Stoning of Soraya M.' by Iranian-American director Sirous Norasteh, was shown at the festival which ended last Saturday.

The film tells the real-life story of Soraya, an 18-year-old woman and mother stoned to death in 1984 for alleged sexual infidelity in western Iran.

Campaign member speaking on SKSW at the Center for Women's Global Leadership

Watch Aisha Lee Shaheed discussing the SKSW Campaign at the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutger's University:

Pakistan: Letter-writing campaign for women buried alive (Shirkat Gah)

From: Shirkat Gah -- Women's Resource Centre

17 Sept 2008: Human Rights Groups express their grave concern for the incident happened in Baba Kot, a remote village of Balochistan where three to five women were brutally shot and apparently buried alive: three for trying to exercise their fundamental right to determine their own lives and to marry men of their choice, the other two for supporting them and trying to save their lives.

Write Letters to:

Mother who defied the killers is gunned down

Five weeks ago Leila Hussein told The Observer the chilling story of how her husband had killed their 17-year-old daughter over her friendship with a British soldier in Basra. Now Leila, who had been in hiding, has been murdered

Was Ahmet Yildiz the victim of Turkey's first gay honour killing?

By Nicholas Birch in Istanbul
Saturday, 19 July 2008

Ahmet Yildiz was shot as he left a cafe near the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul

In a corner of Istanbul today, the man who might be described as Turkey's gay poster boy will be buried – a victim, his friends believe, of the country's deepening friction between an increasingly liberal society and its entrenched conservative traditions.

In Afghanistan, Rape Victims Begin To Break The Silence

September 01, 2008
By Farangis Najibullah

Sobbing and barely able to speak, a teenage girl from Afghanistan’s northern Takhar province describes the horror of being gang-raped at gunpoint.

“They raped me for three days and nights. I felt like I was going crazy," she said. "They forced me to drink alcohol. I couldn’t get up. They had guns, knives. They were so cruel and brutal. I screamed and cried, but they didn’t care.”

Woman beaten and threatened with death for divorce

Jerusalem woman who left ultra-Orthodox life after her divorce gagged, beaten by group of self-proclaimed 'chastity guards'

A 31-year-old Jerusalem woman was cruelly beaten and threatened with death by members of the 'modesty squad' who took it upon themselves to interrogate her about her relationships with men, an indictment filed Thursday by the Jerusalem Prosecution reveals.

17 Year old shot for successfully seeking annulment

DESPAIR among human rights workers in Pakistan over a rash of so-called "honour killings" intensified yesterday when it was disclosed that a girl forced into marriage with a 45-year-old man at the age of nine had been killed by her parents because she asked for an annulment.

The girl, 17, who had been fighting a lonely but successful legal battle, was coming out of court in the Punjabi city of Sahiwal after being granted the annulment by a judge when she was surrounded by a group of men and shot in view of police.

Jordan 'honour killings' cover for other crimes

Jordan 'honour killings' cover for other crimes

Men exploit lenient laws to murder women for inheritance, settling family feuds or to hide other crimes.

AMMAN - When 18-year-old Maha decided that she wanted to quit her family's prostitution ring, her brother killed her and alleged it was to "cleanse" the family's honour.

Maha is one of hundreds of women in Jordan and other conservative societies who rights groups say are killed every year by their male relatives in so-called honour crimes for "sullying" the reputation of their families.

Update: More on the 5 women buries alive in Pakistan

The following are various news clips regarding the 5 women buried alive in Baluchistan, Pakistan:

UPDATE: Pakistan: Activists respond to women buried alive; no cultural justifications for murder!
Source: Dawn Newspaper (Pakistan) and Women's Action Forum

WLUML presents various responses by women's human rigths activists.

Balochistan govt twists facts about women’s burial

Pakistan women's bodies exhumed

Pakistan women's bodies exhumed

Police in Pakistan have exhumed the bodies of two women allegedly buried alive in western Balochistan province.

They have also arrested six people, including some relatives of the women.

Reports from the area say the women were killed in July because they wanted to marry men of their own choice, against the wishes of tribal elders.

Three other women were also reported killed but police have not found their bodies. Human rights groups have expressed outrage at the killings.

Senator defends honour-killing

ISLAMABAD- A Baloch tribal lord caught the upper house by surprise here on Friday when he came forward defending the honour killing of five women in Balochistan saying ‘these are our norms which should not be highlighted negatively’.

Baloch Senator Israr Ullah Zehri while aggressively interrupting Senator Bibi Yasmin Shah, who condemned the brutal act of burying alive five women in Balochistan on charges of ‘love marriage’, said it was part of their traditions, which, he said, should not be negatively highlighted.

Afghan President pardons men convicted of bayonet gang rape

By Kate Clark in Kabul
Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has pardoned three men who had been found guilty of gang raping a woman in the northern province of Samangan.

The woman, Sara, and her family found out about the pardon only when they saw the rapists back in their village.

“Everyone was shocked,” said Sara’s husband, Dilawar, who like many Afghans uses only one name. “These were men who had been sentenced and found guilty by the Supreme Court, walking around freely.”

The Afghan women jailed for being victims of rape

In Lashkar Gah, the majority of female prisoners are serving 20-year sentences for being forced to have sex. Terri Judd visited them and heard their extraordinary stories

Monday, 18 August 2008
Zirdana, right, with her son and Saliha, centre, in Lashkar Gah prison

Zirdana, right, with her son and Saliha, centre, in Lashkar Gah prison

Grass-roots effort in Egypt fights 'cutting' girls

By ANNA JOHNSON – Aug 3, 2008

SULTAN ZAWYIT, Egypt (AP) — In this small Nile River farming village, Maha Mohammed has started to doubt whether she should circumcise her two daughters.

A year ago, she had few qualms about female genital mutilation, the practice of cutting a girl's clitoris and sometimes other genitalia. She herself was cut two decades ago, and she fears her daughters will not find husbands otherwise.