CEDAW Committee Deplores Honor Killings

Gender inequity persists in forms such as “honor killings,” trafficking and sexual exploitation, and legal restrictions on property rights, reported members of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the only UN human rights body that exclusively addresses women’s rights. The committee spotlighted the gruesome nature of “honor killings,” which occur when men kill a female relative suspected of actions perceived as shameful and damaging to family honor. Women have been killed for speaking to a man, being raped, and being suspected of adultery or pre-marital sexual intercourse. In over 90 percent of the cases families of the women had ordered or performed the killing themselves. This killing is often glorified as a necessary duty, and in countries where legal punishments exist, the perpetrators face lenient sentences for the murders.

The 23 experts convened for three weeks at the United Nations headquarters to review studies on women’s status in seven countries and offer recommendations for eradicating gender inequality. CEDAW committee monitors global compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which has been ratified by 165 countries, excluding the United States.

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UN News, 3 July 2000, AP 1 July 2000

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