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Women around the world live in constant fear of death by burning, decapitation, stoning, or acid attacks for dishonoring their family. Dishonorable acts can be simple exercises of free will: marrying the man of their choice, divorcing abusive husbands, or unacceptable dress. They are even murdered for actions beyond their control, including rape.
A Pakistani mother recently doused her 15-year-old daughter with acid for allegedly looking at a boy. She died slowly after suffering agonizing burns to 70% of her body. This is the latest example of a chilling, global phenomenon that arose from the cultural commodification of women and is reinforced by misguided concepts of honor. It's estimated that as many as 5,000 women are killed by members of their own families annually.
Sign the petition: Urge the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (The Honorable Navanethem Pillay) to continue advocacy to end to the barbaric practice of honor killings.
Dear Commissioner Pillay:
Women in Pakistan, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all around the world live their daily lives in fear of a violent, torturous death at the hands of their own family members, all in the name of honor. The twisted notion that a woman is a legitimate lightening rod for a clan's moral liability has resulted in an estimated 5,000 deaths annually via shooting, burning, decapitation, stoning, or gruesome acid attacks.
Dishonorable acts can be simple exercises of free will: marrying the man of their choice, divorcing abusive husbands, or simply dressing in a manner deemed unacceptable. They are even murdered by their kin for actions entirely out of their control, including sexual assault and incest, as these are also often interpreted as bringing shame. The justifications for these brutal murders are as morally repugnant as the manner in which they are carried out.
While the two main factors contributing to the origins of this lethal violence against women are the commodification of women as property and misguided conceptions of honor, it is a lack of legal culpability that allows these homicidal acts to continue. Until statutes are in place to punish the perpetrators, the practice of honor killings will no doubt continue to proliferate. Agents of honor killings often receive light sentences or are exonerated entirely by the courts because defense of the family's honor is treated as a mitigating circumstance (in Jordan, the murder of women for the sake of restoring family honor is legally sanctioned).
We thank you for opening an international dialogue around this issue and urge you to continue diligent advocacy work towards legal reforms resulting in full prosecution of family members who murder their own daughters, sisters, mothers, and wives.