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Combating ‘honour’ crimes in the EU

Written by Martina Prpic

Combating 'honour' crimes in the EU

© Norberto Lauria / Fotolia

Awareness of ‘honour’ crimes has increased in the EU in the past decade. Even though the majority of such crimes still usually go unreported, even when made known to the police, this type of crime has often been miscategorised. Experts have warned that this type of violent behaviour is different from, for example, domestic violence, because perpetrators are usually groups of people who find rationale for their crime in their cultures or traditions. The perpetrators believe that by abusing or even killing the victim, they are protecting the family’s or the community’s ‘honour’, which has somehow been ‘tarnished’ by the behaviour of the victim.

Globally, the majority of ‘honour’ crimes are committed in the Middle East and southern Asia. Even though such crimes have mostly been associated with Islam, they also occur in Hindu, Sikh, Druze, Christian and Jewish communities. The EU and the Council of Europe have given much attention to ‘honour’ crimes, mostly through documents dealing with violence against women in general.

Although the incidence of ‘honour’ crimes is higher outside the EU, increased migration and subsequent problems with integration of immigrants into host communities have contributed to these types of crimes becoming a serious issue for some EU countries as well. Apart from individual, national efforts, EU institutions have also taken steps to combat ‘honour’-based violence, mostly within the framework of combatting gender-based violence. The European Parliament has specifically addressed the issue through several resolutions covering ‘honour’ crimes as well as other types of violence over vulnerable groups. The EU institutions have also shown concern for victims outside EU borders, and repeatedly address these issues in countries wanting to join the EU (for instance, Turkey) and in others such as Pakistan and Yemen.

Read the complete Briefing on ‘Combating ‘honour’ crimes in the EU‘ in PDF.

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