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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March, 2005, 09:42 GMT
Honour crime is 'complex issue'
Shahien Taj
Shahien Taj helped to organise the conference
'Honour' crimes within Asian communities have been discussed at a conference held in Cardiff.

It was organised by the All Wales Saheli Association as part of International Women's Day.

Shahien Taj, founding director of the organisation, said that the issue was very complex and widely misunderstood.

She said that the majority of women within Asian communities have faced some sort of pressure over honour.

Honour crimes can involve false imprisonment, women being forced into unwanted marriages or, in extreme cases, murders being committed.

"It is a really widely misunderstood issue," she told BBC News Online.

"The issue of honour is very important among families and anyone who is seen as bringing dishonour on the family will face some sort of pressure.

"It is about anyone who is seen as breaking the mould.

"And it happens everywhere - I would say that the majority of Asian women in particular will face some sort of pressure."

Nazir Afzal
Nazir Afzal spoke of the problems of honour killings

Ms Taj who set up the All Wales Saheli Association said that the problem occurs in many families.

"I have spoken to one woman, who is a successful businesswoman but she has said to me that she has suffered so much because of the honour issue," said Ms Taj.

"She was seen as dishonouring the family because she was breaking the mould and although she is a successful woman she feels she suffered for it."

Key speakers at the conference included Nazir Arfal, the director of the Crown Prosecution Service and Nayyar Haider, the Inspector General of Police in Karachi, Pakistan.

"The problem of honour is that it is not very well understood by people - it gets a lot of negative press," said Ms Taj.

Issue

"It is a very deep and complex issue and it happens when families think that they are being compromised by the actions of another," she added.

During the conference, which was set up with Amnesty International, the audience heard from various speakers on the unacceptability of honour killings and heard how more should be done to protect women and girls from the threat of such deaths.

The audience heard various examples of honour killings including the story of how two young girls were gunned down in their home after they refused to marry older men in lieu of money owed by their families.

In 2003, the Metropolitan Police in London announced new research into the culture surrounding honour killings.

It followed the murder of a 16-year-old girl by her father after she formed a relationship with a man of whom he disapproved.

Police are investigating more than 100 murders over the last decade in an effort to find any common links.




SEE ALSO:
Honour killer loses parole bid
17 Feb 05 |  Bradford
Men jailed for 'honour killing'
09 Nov 04 |  Manchester


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