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Honouring your family

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    Honouring your family

    Resolution Condemning Honor Killings Rejected by Pakistani Parliament
    August 31, 1999

    On August 2, 1999 the Upper House of the Pakistani Parliament rejected a
    resolution that would have condemned the practice of killing women in the
    name of family honor. After several weeks of pressure from human rights
    activists including Asma Jahangir, Chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission
    of Pakistan and UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and
    Summary Executions, the Pakistan People's Party introduced the resolution in
    the Senate. Though it appeared that the resolution had the support of
    various parties, in the end the Senate failed to pass the resolution.>>>
    Last year at least 286 women are known to have been killed in the name of
    honor. Earlier this year the problem of honor killing was brought to
    international attention through the case of Samia Sarwar. While meeting
    with her lawyer to discuss her divorce, Ms. Sarwar was murdered by a man
    hired by her parents to kill her in order to protect their family honor.
    (See SIGI Alert from April 15, 1999> ). Human rights advocates had hoped
    that a Senate resolution condemning the practice of honor killing would
    quell such incidents and send a message that women's human rights are to be
    protected in Pakistan. On Friday, August 6, 1999, a group of about 200
    activists, mostly women, protested the Senate's decision outside the
    Parliament building in Islamabad.
    The Pakistani Senate's rejection of the resolution illustrates the
    unwillingness of the government to punish perpetrators of honor killings.
    This, despite the fact that Pakistan is a party to the Convention on the
    Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which
    states that there must be gender equality under the law. The CEDAW
    Committee, which monitors state compliance with the convention, clarified in
    its General Recommendation Number 19 that, "The definition of discrimination
    includes gender-based violence, that is, violence that is directed against a
    woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately"
    (Eleventh Session, 1992, UN Document A/47/38). In addition, Article 2 of
    CEDAW was interpreted to mean that state parties have an obligation to
    eliminate violence against women where it is based upon traditional,
    stereotyped gender roles.
    Victims of honor killings are targeted because they are women who are
    perceived to have violated community gender norms. The CEDAW Committee
    holds states responsible for the prosecution of such crimes. Recommendation
    19 states that, "under general international law and specific human rights
    covenants, a State may also be responsible for private acts if they fail to
    act with due diligence to prevent violation of rights or to investigate and
    punish acts of violence." In this case, the State's failure to pass a
    resolution condemning honor killing constitutes a lack of "due diligence" by
    the state to protect women.

    Your urgent action is needed to ensure that the Pakistani Parliament
    reconsiders the resolution against honor killing. Please write to the
    following authorities to demand that the crime of honor killing be condemned
    in Pakistan, and perpetrators of this crime be prosecuted and punished.

    Mohammad Nawaz Sharif
    Prime Minister of Pakistan
    Prime Minister's Secretariat
    Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
    Fax: 92-51-920-3414
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Wassim Sajjad
    Speaker of the Senate
    House No. 28>>>St. 4, E-7
    Islamabad, Pakistan
    Tel: 92-51-210-573; 210-864

    Chaudhary Shujahat Hussain
    Minister for the Interior
    Government of Pakistan
    Cabinet Block, Pakistan Secretariat
    Islamabad 44000,
    Fax: 92-51-920-2624
    E-mail: [email protected]>>>

    The Pakistan Mission to the United Nations
    8 East 65th Street
    New York, NY 10021, USA
    Fax: 212-369-0119
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Sisterhood Is Global Institute
    4343 Montgomery Ave., Suite 201
    Bethesda, MD 20814
    Tel: 301-657-4355
    Fax: 301-657-4381 mail to: [email protected]

    "A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." -Walter Winchell

    22.1 . O mankind! Fear your Lord . Lo! the earthquake of the Hour ( of Doom ) is a tremendous thing .