UN adopts UK-sponsored resolution against 'honour crimes'

A resolution presented by the UK and Turkey aimed at eliminating crimes against so-called honour crimes – crimes committed against women and girls – has been adopted by the UN.

The resolution, which was processed last night, calls on the international community to intensify efforts to prevent 'honour crimes', and presses for states to ensure they have effective legislation in place to punish those responsible.

'Honour crimes' are generally defined as violence committed against women or girls who are perceived to have brought 'shame' on relatives or the community. The majority of victims are women in communities or families dominated by men. Contrary to popular belief, honour crimes are not limited to a specific group of countries, nor do they have anything to do with religion - although perpetrators may try to justify their actions on religious grounds.

The resolution has been co-sponsored by 79 countries from all parts of the world.

Bill Rammell, Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for human rights, said: "Honour crimes are one of the most despicable forms of violence committed against women and girls. Our hard-hitting joint resolution with Turkey sends out the clear message that violence against women in the name of 'honour' is incompatible with all religious and cultural values.

"Turkey's decision to join us in taking the lead on this initiative is testament to its commitment to human rights reform domestically and on the international stage."

A new penal code, passed by the Turkish Parliament on September 26, strengthens women's rights considerably and will make a huge difference when implemented. Amongst other measures, it removes sentence reductions for honour killings.


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