Target: President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain
Goal: Urge government officials to punish violence against women and protect them from “honor killings”
In Pakistan, honor killings are rampant as more women rebel against strict family traditions to lead more independent lives. The death of a 25-year-old pregnant Pakistani woman was deeply condemned by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, as she urged Pakistan’s government to do more to protect women from further abuse.
Farzana Parveen was stoned to death by 20 members of her own family, including her father and two brothers, simply for marrying a man of her own choosing. For years arranged marriages have been a fundamental part of Pakistan’s society. Marriages are arranged within families or communities to prevent ethnic mixing, sustain wealth and maintain longstanding social recognition or power. Because of this, few matrimonial alliances occur out of love. As a result, any woman that chooses to go against these strict traditions is subject to scrutiny, rejection or even death.
Unfortunately, Farzana’s death is one of hundreds as an estimated 869 women are killed in so-called “honor killings” in the country every year. What’s more is 83 percent of Islamic fundamentalists support honor killings, especially death by stoning, which is the act of pillaging a person to their demise using rocks and stones. In more extreme cases, women are kidnapped, shot or severely disfigured using acid. A man in Pakistan’s Punjab province suspected his nieces of having “inappropriate relations” with two boys and killed them, saying he did it “for honor.” Another teenage girl living in the Sukkur community of Pakistan was shot by her own brother after he thought that she’d been sleeping with a man. A mother and father doused their 15-year-old daughter with acid because they “feared dishonor” occurring in their family after she looked at a boy they didn’t approve of. When asked by the police why she did it, the mother stated, “…it was her destiny to die this way.”
Although both genders are subject to stoning, women are more frequently the targets because of misogynistic Islamic law, extremism, and gender inequality. The United Nations has worked tirelessly to put a stop to the brutal violence being carried out against women, but to no avail. Honor killings continue to rise and Pakistan’s overwhelmingly patriarchal customs are thriving.
Sign the petition to urge Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain to stop this senseless violence against women once and for all.
Dear President Hussain,
Honor killings have claimed the lives of more than 800 women in the past year, some as young as 13 years old. The recent death of a 25-year-old pregnant woman named Farzana Parveen is especially disheartening and reveals the damaging effects of patriarchy, misogyny and religious extremism. The United Nations and countless human rights groups have urged you to take action and recognize the deaths of these women as a crime against humanity. So far, your government has done nothing to rectify the issue and it shows that you do not care about the livelihoods of Pakistani women.
A teenage girl shouldn’t have her life taken from her simply for looking at a boy. No woman should be forced into a loveless marriage by her controlling parents. Women shouldn’t have to suffer brutal violence as a punishment for their sexualities or control of their basic freedoms. I urge you to stop this epidemic and to do more to protect women from senseless violence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Nitin Madhav via Wikimedia Commons