Tuesday 17 June 2014

Honor Killing By Yen Yuen


Summary: A recent article which reported that a pregnant Pakistani woman  had been stoned to death by her family members has thrust the issue of honour killing into the spotlight.

Honour killing is the killing of a family member who is perceived to have brought dishonour upon their families. The main reason of this action is to protect their own family's honour. While men may be targeted, women mostly bear the brunt of such punishments because they are more widely perceived as "keepers" of family or community honour.

In some countries, these tribal customs have been codified into law, which may constitute legal grounds for killing a family member.

Although prevalent in the Middle East and Asia, it is a widespread global phenomenon.  Most such killings are particularly difficult to prove or prosecute. There are often no witnesses and little motivation within the community for police to pursue suspects. Most families often cover up the crime, disguising it as an accident or suicide

For example, in Pakistan, conviction rates are very low because of blood-money laws which allow kin to forgive perpetrators, usually family members in such cases. Even if convicted, men who have taken part may sometimes receive reduced sentences.

Reflection: After reading this article, I largely condemn honor killing as I feel that it is the same as abusing the rights of women. Even though honor killing does not take place in my country and I do not understand how these people manage to convince themselves that killing is a form of honour, I feel that women deserve their own rights, especially in patriarchal societies. This is also one of the reasons why I am fortunate to live in Singapore as women and men have equal rights. While it is undeniable that it is hard to remove these tribal customs that abuse women's rights (since some of the people have taken it as a tribal customs) , I feel that the Human Rights Watch should do more on the issue of 'Honor Killing' and eradicate the laws of honor killings in some countries. At the same time, the government also plays an important role and they should step up on this problem to prevent similar incidents from occurring again, protecting the woman's rights.

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