Posts Tagged ‘honour’

The caged girl

Four years ago in 2012, a British girl, Amina Al-Jeffery, was taken out of the UK, from her home in Swansea, and locked up in the country of her father’s birth, Saudi Arabia. Amina has been locked up for daring to become ‘Westernised’ for ruining the family honour and bringing shame on the family name. For the last four years that she has been forced to live in Saudi Arabia none of us had even heard of her. I hadn’t. Can you honestly say you had heard of her plight to return to Britain, to her home? Thanks to social media and the power of Twitter her plight has been heard and the High Courts have ruled that ‘the girl in the cage’ be returned to the UK by the 11th of September. Why not immediately? Four years is a long time to be imprisoned by her father, why have the courts not demanded she be released immediately?

Yasmin Khan, Director of the Halo Project, a national charity dedicated to helping the victims of forced marriage, honour based violence and female genital mutilation and the many issues that arise from these crimes, including kidnap, spoke about the case on BBC Live 5, on 3rd August 2016. Yasmin discussed the failures of safeguarding agencies in protecting the victims, the importance of safeguarding agencies working closely together to ensure the safety of victims. That we even have a case where there is a British girl, locked in a cage in Saudi Arabia is shocking.

Cases of honour crime are hugely under reported, Yasmin goes on to say, parents who are guilty of killing their child in the name of honour are never going to report the child missing are they?

If it hadn’t been for social media and Amina’s plea for help we would never have heard of her, she had friends she relied on to get her story out there. How many more Amina’s are out there, no one to tell their story.

Yasmin is spot on when she states that it should never have been allowed to get to this stage. This stage means that we have failed those we should have been protecting. It is important to take risks seriously and not ignore cries for help because you are scared of being labelled something. Helping and supporting girls and women live a life free of violence and honour killing only shows that you are a decent human being, there is nothing racist in empowering young girls and women.

I hope that Amina’s father does the right thing and returns her to home, in Swansea. I hope he is shamed by how much support his daughter is receiving, and sets her free. Sadly men’s actions are never deemed shameful nor is the burden of ‘honour’ placed on them. Amina’s father believes his daughter needs to stay locked up; no High Court hearing can make him change his mind. The British laws where his daughter was born matter not the laws in the land of his birth.

If the father held his beliefs in his actions and not in his mind, then he should respect the over-riding fact that Islamic law must be overseen by the law of the land and in this case UK Law should be implemented.



Oscars 2016: Winning filmmaker gives powerful speech about honour killings in Pakistan

Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy made a powerful speech at the #Oscars last night, after winning the award for best documentary short. But rather than using the platform to gush thanks, Obaid-Chinoy took the chance to speak out about the topic of her film: #honourkillings.

Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy's film A Girl in the River

The practice – where men kill their own female family members for ‘dishonouring’ them, typically by having relationships they disapprove of – is particularly common in Pakistan.

Obaid-Chinoy’s film A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness shines a light on such killings. It tells the story of Saba Qaiser, a real young woman in Pakistan who survived attempted murder by her father and uncle after she married someone they felt ‘dishonoured’ the family.

Her film has garnered international attention, leading officials in Pakistan to promise they will work to end the illegal practice.

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Met police not prepared in dealing with honour crimes, new report finds

The Metropolitan police (MPS) needs to be more prepared for how it would protect victims of honour based violence.

A new report, the first of its kind on honour crimes, found the force is under-prepared in keeping victims of forced marriages and female genital mutilation safe.

The Met Police force has said it is determined to eradicate honour crimes

The report, carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), identified that the MPS struggled with enforcing protection and preventing the crimes from taking place. Honour-based violence is the term used to refer to practices used to control the behaviour of women and girls in order to protect supposed cultural and religious beliefs.

The London Borough of Hounslow was recognised last week for its work to eradicate violence against women, but it appears more work is yet to be done across London. A spokesperson for the Met told Getwestlondon: “The MPS is committed to continuing to work with affected communities, health, education, social care and other partners to tackle and eradicate honour-based abuse and harmful practises in all its forms.

“By working with affected communities, charities and public services, we aim to get a better understanding of the risks faced by victims to prevent such crimes taking place, safeguard victims and where appropriate bring offenders to justice.”


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Syrian gang rape victim who fled to Germany after her ordeal is stabbed to death ‘in honour killing ordered by her own mother because she was seen as unclean after her sex assault’

A woman whose family branded her ‘unclean’ after she was gang-raped in her Syrian homeland has been found murdered in Germany – allegedly on the orders of her own mother.

'My family regarded me as unclean': Syrian migrant Rokstan M was allegedly stabbed to death by her father and brothers in the twisted logic she brought disgrace on her family after being gang raped

Police believe the victim, named only as Rokstan M, 20, was stabbed to death by her father and brothers in the twisted logic that she had brought disgrace on her family through the sex attack.

Shortly before she was found dead in an allotment garden in the eastern German city of Dessau, she apparently had a premonition of her fate. Writing on her WhatsApp profile, she said: ‘I am awaiting death. But I am too young to die.’

Rokstan had been living in a house for single women before returning to her family a few days before she was murdered and buried in a shallow grave. The killing has served to pull into sharp focus the cultural gulf between Germans and the more than one million refugees expected to arrive in the country this year.

Rokstan had arrived in Germany two years ago following her ordeal.

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Region joins forces against ‘honour’ violence

POLICE in the North-East and support organisations led by the Halo Project have united to sign an honour based violence (HBV) charter pledging to wipe out the crime in the region and are urging victims to come forward.
They said that vital lessons have been learned since Banaz Mahmod’s pleas for help fell on deaf ears nine years ago and assured that they will be believed. The terrified 20-year-old wrote a letter from beyond the grave giving details about the men she believed would savagely kill her before her raped and strangled body was found in a suitcase.

Yasmin Khan, director of Halo Project, signing the pledge to eradicate 'honour' based violence in the region with Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger

PLEDGE: Yasmin Khan, director of Halo Project, signing a charter vowing to eradicate ‘honour’ based violence in the region with Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger

After she was spotted kissing her boyfriend in the street, Banaz Mahmod from London was murdered by her own family in a so called ‘honour’ killing despite reporting to police that she feared her life was in danger five times.
The harrowing documentary, ‘Banaz: A Love Story’ made by award-winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan, was screened at the pledge event detailing the tragic events that unfolded from her police interview to her killers finally being brought to justice.
A picture of a younger Banaz flashed up on the screen shows a baby faced beauty with rosebud lips and a healthy glow. But the woman who sat in the police interview room with her straggly hair scraped back in a bun, looked gaunt, exhausted and with the knowing look of fear in her eyes.

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London airport staff battle to stop #FGM during summer holidays

Heathrow’s border control staff are facing a ‘huge challenge’ to protect girls at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage during the summer holidays.

Border Force officers at London’s biggest airport have been trained to look out for girls who are being taken out of the country to undergo the illegal practice of FGM or other forms of violence, such as trafficking.

National school summer holidays are known to be exceptionally high risk for young girls – in some parts of Africa it is known as ‘cutting season’ for FGM – meaning staff are putting extra efforts into identifying victims of FGM and forced marriage.

Border Force staff act out a situation where a trafficking victim is identified (Radhika Sanghani)

Heathrow and Gatwick airport are conducting joint operations alongside the police to educate and protect potential victims.

Today, Heathrow airport demonstrated its work to Home Office minister Karen Bradley by simulating the arrival of a young woman who was suspected to be a trafficking victim.

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Phoenix Woman, Forced Into Marriage by Family, Is Brutally Assaulted by “Husband”

A Phoenix woman forced into an arranged marriage was brought against her will to her “husband’s” apartment on Monday, where police say she was violently sexually assaulted.


According to court documents obtained by New Times, the woman’s parents “married” her to 30-year-old Mohamed Abdullahi without her knowledge in November. Court documents show the marriage was done as part of a “Muslim custom called ‘Nikah.'” The documents describe the two as being joined “culturally.”

Police say the young woman learned of her arranged marriage in December, and she fled the state upon hearing the news. After 15 days out of state, she returned to Phoenix to finish high school.

On Monday, multiple family members brought her to Abdullahi’s apartment “against her will,” according to court records.

Once at the apartment, near 33rd and Van Buren streets, Abdullahi punched her in the face and started to strangle her with one hand around her throat, police say.

Abdullahi tore off her clothes, continued to slap her and bite her, and ultimately sexually assaulted her, according to court documents.

“During the entire incident, the victim was not free to leave and physically held against her will,” the arresting officer writes in a probable-cause statement. “The defendant placed his mattress against the door so the victim could not leave after he fell asleep.”

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Calgary documentary says forced marriages aren’t too far from home

Calgary filmmaker Iman Bukhari is breaking open the hidden reality of forced marriages in Canada in her debut documentary, “Forced.”

Bukhari spoke to 10 men and women who had been forced into marriage, all between the ages of 17 and 27, but only one agreed to appear in the film: a girl who was taken to her birth nation and forced into an unwanted marriage at age 13.

“People think that because we are in a first-world nation, these things don’t happen here, but they do,” she said.

Iman Bukhari launched her debut documentary, “Forced,” at the John Dutton Theatre on Tuesday afternoon.

“[This girl] was a child herself and she went through terrible, terrible things, there was a lot of violence involved, and she was 13 years old – that’s Grade 7 – can you imagine?”

To mark the 10th annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association screened the documentary on Tuesday afternoon at the John Dutton Theatre.


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Our Film About ‘Honor Violence’ Should Not Be Censored

Last Sunday, a group of students at the University of South Dakota planned to attend a screening of our film, Honor Diaries, a documentary focused on the abuses women face under the honor system.

Honor Diaries


The film follows the stories of nine women’s rights activists — of Christian, Sikh, and Muslim backgrounds — as they tackle the taboo surrounding honor-based violence: murders in the name of honor, forced and early marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM).

The film has won awards at multiple film festivals, been screened at the UK House of Commons, Amnesty International, and the UN in New York and Geneva, as well as hundreds of universities across the countries. But the students in South Dakota never got a chance to watch the film. They were not given the platform to explore its issues, celebrate its women, or become empowered by its message. A professor at the university who supports the film called it “stealth repression” that the film screening was mysteriously canceled. Organizers of another Honor Diaries screening, scheduled for April 10 at the university, have been under steady attack and pressure to do the same. Fortunately, they are holding out and standing strong in the name of freedom of expression, human rights and women’s empowerment.

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How One Woman Escaped Forced Marriage and Thrived

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it,” said Nelson Mandela. Nasreen Sheikh is, undoubtedly, one of the most courageous people I have ever met. She is a social entrepreneur living in Nepal and is subverting the typical role of a woman in her society. She is changing the lives of dozens of women in Nepal and has a goal to help hundreds more. This is Nasreen’s story.


Nasreen Sheikh_Halo Project

At 23 years of age, Nasreen Sheikh radically redefines what it means to be a Nepali woman. She is a Sunni Muslim living in a predominately Hindu community and is the founder of a fair-trade sewing collective called Local Women’s Handicrafts, based in the country’s capital of Kathmandu. The company sells bags, scarves, wallets and shirts; and only employs women from disadvantaged backgrounds. The business focuses on empowering and educating women with the intent to change the cultural and social norms in Nepal.


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