Empower Women to Stop Honour Killings

Chairwoman Hautala addressed a debate organized by MEP Mr Theodoros Skylakakis and the European Institute for Research on the Middle East concerning combating honour killings, on 7th of July at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. [:]

Ms Hautala expressed deep disappointment over the unrelenting statistics that up to one in three women in the world has been abused during her lifetime and that one the most extreme forms of abuse remains the so called honour killings. She underlined that these crimes against women are a fundamental human rights issue and that this means that the State are under obligation to prevent these crimes, to investigate them and hold those responsible, accountable. On the other hand, the States have a duty to protect victims of these abhorrent crimes. Most important thing in this remit is that these crimes must be treated as such – criminal offences, punishable by law. Likewise, we must be clear on the fact that such killings crimes are incompatible with all religious and cultural values, she stressed.

There is much that can be done to combat this persistent tradition of abuse. The problem is, however, complex and the responses must reflect this. As these kinds of crimes stem from local level traditions and understandings, it is of utmost importance to understanding them as they at the end of the day are the root causes of this particular type of violence. Detailed and systematic data of these practices must be collected and this must be rigorously analysed. This must be mirrored against policies at the local, national and international level.

On the other hand, cross-border cooperation is a necessity. As at the crux of the problem are understandings and local practices that must be changed, renewed cooperation is needed from the Governments, international community and civil society.

However, at the heart of combating any kind of violence against women, always lay, however, the necessity to empower women. This means fully including women into the decision- and policy – making processes, Ms Hautala underlined.