Friday, June 25, 2010

South Asia / "Honour" Killings

Honour-Killing: A Sub-continental Phenomenon
By Jason Burke
The Guardian, June 25, 2010
"At least 900 so-called honour killings take place in three Indian states -- Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh -- every year, according to research to be released published next week. A large number go unreported as families try to pass them off as natural deaths. Honour killing in the south and east of India is rare. The UN Population Fund estimates around 5,000 women die in this way every year worldwide, the vast majority in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. According to one recent study, -- 172 incidents and 230 honour-killing victims worldwide -- the average age of those killed is 23. In the UK, 10 to 12 women are killed for this reason every year In March this year, a Haryana court sentenced five people to death for murdering a couple on the orders of a 'khap panchayat,' a traditional unofficial local council. Among the guilty were the girl's brother and cousins. Last week, the Indian supreme court demanded an explanation of what steps national and state governments had taken to protect young couples. The government has promised new legislation in the next few weeks."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch. Interestingly, despite the reference to the "couple" killed in Haryana, there is no mention of the very substantial number of men who also perish in South Asian "honour" killings, which are often linked to perceived "transgressions" by lower-caste males.]

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Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ