Over 200 activists from around the world are meeting today in Sweden for an international conference to combat honor killings. Honor killings made headlines in Sweden in 2002 after a 26-year old Kurdish women’s rights activist who was campaigning against honor killings was shot dead by her father for having a relationship with a man from Sweden, according to Agence France-Presse. Between 1,500 and 2,000 women living in Sweden contacted authorities last year for help with threats of being killed by their own relatives, reports Reuters.
The statement released by the Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds and the Gender Equality Minister Jens Orback reads, “Patriarchal violence against women, including violence in the name of honor, is a threat to women’s lives and mental health and to equal conditions between women and men, both in Sweden and in other countries,” reports Agence France-Presse. Honor killings have been rising in Western countries, particularly within immigrant communities. As a way to combat the rise of these crimes in Sweden, the government raised the marriage age to 18 and also refused to recognize child marriage and forced marriage conducted abroad.
Conference attendees represented Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan, Jordan, Turkey, Poland, Canada, Sweden, the European Union, and human rights groups, reports Reuters.