SOAS University of London

Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law

Metropolitan Police Service: 'Honour Killings' – 'Honour Crimes' Seminar

Various Speakers

Date: 23 May 2003Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 23 May 2003Time: 5:00 PM


Type of Event: Seminar

This seminar formed part of the Metropolitan Police Service's consultation with affected communities dealing with 'honour crimes'. Delegates represented various police forces, as well as agencies from across the public and private, statutory and voluntary sectors. Delegates shared their experiences, information, research, intelligence and best practice in responding to incidents of 'crimes of honour' and specifically 'honour killings'. The seminar consisted of presentations by relevant experts, group discussion and a series of workshops. The Co-Directors of the CIMEL/INTERIGHTS 'Crimes of Honour' Project were invited to give presentations on issues pertinent to strategies addressing 'honour killing'. Sara Hossain's presentation focused on the international and legal perspective of developing strategies to address 'crimes of honour', highlighting in particular the need for the government and state agencies to be made fully aware of and implement their obligations under international human rights law. Dr Lynn Welchman's presentation provided an overview of the Project, and discussed the problematic use of the term 'crimes of honour' and the misguided focus on perceived associations with Muslim societies.

The seminar identified key points, including: recognising that 'crimes of honour' should be treated as a violation of human rights and not as a religious or cultural practice; identifying the use of the term 'crimes of honour' as problematic and suggesting that it be avoided and murders identified as such; recognising that 'honour' may be invoked as a motivation for perpetrating violence against women and is used as a justification by the perpetrator; suggesting that initiatives to address 'crimes of honour' including forced marriage should be integrated into wider strategies to tackle various forms of violence against women, including domestic violence; and recognising that the complex nature of the issues involved in tackling 'crimes of honour' requires a multi-agency, multi-sector response at a local, national and international level.

(By Sanchita Hosali, Research Assistant, CIMEL-INTERIGHTS Project on Strategies to Address 'Crimes of Honour')

Organiser: Metropolitan Police Service