Around the world, 5,000 girls and women are victims of “honor killings” each year. These murders are supposed to restore the honor of a family or a community when a woman behaves against local customs. Offenses can range from dressing inappropriately to being raped.
Victims of honor killings often die at the hands of their own fathers, brothers, and uncles — the very people who are supposed to support and protect them.
Take Saba, for example. She is a Pakistani girl whose father and uncle attempted to murder her at the age of 18, simply for wanting to marry for love. Saba lived to tell her story in Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Academy Award-winning film A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.
Even though honor killings are considered murder in Pakistan, the murderers are easily pardoned if the victim’s family agrees to forgive them. When the crime is committed by another member of the victim's family, there is almost always pressure to forgive the murder to avoid criminal punishment.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has pledged to end honor killings by ensuring that appropriate legislation is enacted. But changing laws won’t happen overnight.
The Pakistani Senate last year unanimously passed a bill to end the pardoning of honor killings and to make it a criminal offense. But the legislation remains stalled in Parliament.
Sign the #LeveltheLaw petition and tweet at Prime Minister Sharif and Speaker of the National Assembly, Sardar Sadiq, to make sure they hear our message: The time to end honor killings is now.
We need to stand in solidarity with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and girls like Saba and introduce the Anti-Honor Killings Law Bill 2014 for a vote in Parliament, to put a stop to honor killings forever.