Target: Palestinian Authority (PA)
Goal: Urge Palestinian leadership to do away with the laws protecting perpetrators of honor killings
Women in Palestine are facing the increasing threat of honor killings—murders of Palestinian women by male relatives who claim they are defending family honor. Palestinian women and girls face this far too often. Many are violently beaten and murdered for acts usually including sexual indiscretions, some for experiencing sexual assault or rape.
Honor killings are not a practice exclusive to Palestine. Throughout the world, the United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 women and girls are abused and murdered by male family members each year for conduct considered detrimental to the family name. Reported cases of honor killings between 2007 and 2010 in the West Bank numbered 29, however the real number is expected to be much higher as honor killings are rarely reported. The Palestinian Interior Ministry refuses to make the exact statistics public.
Murders claimed in the name of family honor are often the result of illicit acts. “The majority of these murders had nothing to do with protecting the honour of families. They were carried out for various criminal reasons. Often women are killed during family financial disputes, and then the men claim the honour killing defence to get reduced sentences,” says Soraida Hussein of the Palestinian Women’s Affairs Technical Committee. In other words, the honor killing defense is a gaping loophole, used by men who commit abuse or murder against women.
Despite promising to reverse the laws that perpetuate this archaic, brutal practice, the Palestinian government continues to endorse legislation that protects men who commit honor killings. Specifically, Articles 97 through 100 of the Jordanian Penal Code reduce sentencing for “any act of battery or murder committed in a ‘state of rage,’” which “reduces sentences for men found guilty of killing female relatives in crimes of passion, particularly relating to declared sexual indiscretion and family honour,” reports the Inter Press Service.
Honor killings cannot go on unaddressed and ignored. Such an abhorrent practice cannot be endorsed and protected by the Palestinian government. Sign below to protest honor killings, and to encourage the Palestinian Authority to repeal any laws that propagate this atrocious practice.
Dear Palestinian Authority,
Despite public acknowledgement that “honor killings”— murder of a woman by a male relative for unbecoming conduct—are increasingly common in Palestine, nothing is being done to put an end to this ritual.
In 2011, amid criticism in the wake of Aya Baradiya’s brutal murder in the name of “honor”, President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to amend the law to guarantee “maximum penalties” for honor killings. Now, it seems, Abbas has decided to go back on his word, claiming that amending these problematic laws would only negatively impact women—a truly nonsensical notion.
It is international knowledge that the Palestinian government has no plan in place to repeal laws that protect perpetrators of honor killings. By standing idly by, the Palestine Authority is sending the message that honor killing, as a practice, is acceptable. It cannot be the platform of Palestinian leadership that violence against women is customary, and murderers and abusers ought to roam free without consequence.
It is high time for President Abbas to make good on his past promises to amend Palestinian law and act on behalf of Palestinian women.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: International Business Times