Friday, October 12, 2007

Honour Killings

I went to the Honour Killings Summit yesterday, arranged by the Conservative Women's Muslim Group: Shazia Ovasi and Fiona Hodgson had put together an outstanding panel of speakers.

I was particularly impressed by Jasvinder Sanghera (co-founder of Karma Nirvana) who is a dis-owned daughter, the author of the critically-acclaimed book Shame and a recent nominee of Woman of the Year 2007.

Jas spoke from the heart and her story of seeing her 15-year old sisters packed off to arranged marriages in Pakistan before returning to their schools in the UK, was heart wrenching - as was hearing about her disownment from her family after daring to say "no" to her own arranged marriage.

Heather Harvey from Amnesty International's Stop the Violence campaign, told us about UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace & Security. We know of so many "last chance" UN resolutions that it was surprising to hear that a resolution exists that insists women's rights be part of any end of conflict negotiations. It's a shame then that the UK government (including apparently the Conservative Party) feel that leaving the new Iraqi administration to implement sharia law for women only (where there was none before), is acceptable.

Houzan Mahmoud (Click here for her blog), an Iraqi-Kurdish campaigner against the killing and stoning of women in Kurdistan, left us in no doubt that "honour" killings are a problem throughout the world and that it is not limited to Muslim communities. Houzan told us of a 17 year-old woman, stoned to death in front of 1,000 cheering men and of mothers who are killed with their daughter for refusing to be complicit in their death. She told of a 12 year-old girl killed by her Father for supposedly falling in love with a man and of the men that take their UK brides to Kurdistan for a holiday, kill them, then return quite legally to the UK to remarry.

Houzan described the situation as a "genocide of a generation of women in Kurdistan."

The over-riding message was that we must all pool resources to help each other to help real and potential victims, so please leave details of what your organisation is doing below, with a website or email address.


Sandra said...

Thank you for the opportunity to tell of work being done to empower the women of Pakistan. The Women's Development Association,, is providing Life Impact classes for women in Pakistan. These classes teach reading, writing, math, health, and vocational training. For $100 one woman can be trained for a year of classes. It is called the Pakistani Promise: One Woman, One Year, One Hundred Dollars.

Florence said...

This was a very powerful and moving morning. It is terrible to think that in this day and age women are still being stoned to death.

Fiona said...

The Women's Development Association sounds quite a similar organisation to Women for Women, who work with women in post conflict situations. The CEO and Founder Zainab Salbi will be speaking at the CWO Conference on 12th November - I think she will be fascinating.