"Nothing has happened"

May targeted by activists, angered that Britain has dropped ball on “honor-related” offenses

British Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo by Nicolas Kovarik/IP3/Getty Images)

Human rights activists are upset with the British government for failing to meet all three deadlines for recommendations made in a report last December on the handling of honor killings in the U.K., as well as for recent attempts by politicians to conflate honor killings with acts of terrorism. There have been 11,000 “honor” crimes in the U.K. recorded by police from 2009 to 2014. A December report made by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, titled “The Depth of Dishonor,” found that only three of the 43 police forces in England and Wales were fully prepared to deal with “honor-related” offences.

“Theresa May initiated this work when in the Home Office,” said human rights activist Diana Nammi. “It was groundbreaking. Now all that exercise is gathering dust. An oversight committee should have been appointed in March, yet nothing has happened. She hasn’t seen this through.” Nammi, who works with the group Ikwro, which provides a refuge, a helpline, and counseling services for U.K. women and men in Arabic, Kurdish, and Farsi, is also concerned that May — who has since become the British prime minister — has not contradicted Nusrat Ghani, Conservative MP for Wealden, who wants the term “honor killing” to be dropped, and for such attacks to instead be labeled as terrorism.

Pointing to the murder of Qandeel Baloch by her brother in Pakistan, Ghani asked May whether she agreed that “such crimes are in fact acts of terror, not honor” and if the government would “[show] the lead by ending use of the word ‘honor’ to describe these vile acts.” May’s answer was non-committal, saying only that the government was “looking very widely across the breaths of issues of extremism,” and that she agreed “there is absolutely no honor in so called ‘honor’ based violence.”

According to Nammi, however, the government would be misleading people if they attempted to link gender violence to terrorism and extremism. “It is a cheap shot,” said Nammi. “It will stop women coming forward if they think they are somehow going to be treated, or their families treated, as a terrorist.” Nammi also objected to the idea that using the term “honor-killing” justified attackers in any way, noting that the concept of “honor killings” is well-known across cultures. “There is no honor in these crimes,” she said, “but it is a term now understood across languages and cultures. It is the same words used in Farsi, in Urdu, in Arabic. This is a term women are familiar with — they know what it means. If they start hearing the word terrorism, they will not understand.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

Related:

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Britain examines treatment of women by local Sharia courts

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Outlawing honor killings is just the start

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