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Forced suicides

Drafters should punish incitement to commit suicide or inflict self-harm. Legislation should provide for an investigation of every female suicide case that includes a medical autopsy by a specialized forensic institute as a standard procedure. Drafters should enact legislation that aims to:

  • identify and prosecute cases of forced suicide and murders disguised as suicides;
  • ensure due diligence in the investigation of suicides, accidents and violent deaths of women and girls. Legislation should mandate a comprehensive autopsy carried out by competent forensic authorities for all such cases;
  • direct authorities to conduct a psychological autopsy to determine the deceased’s mental state at the time of death where a suicide may have been involuntary or motivated by “honour.” Psychological autopsies should be carried out by trained professionals to determine the presence of third party influence in the deceased’s decision to commit suicide and whether “honour” was a motivating factor in the death. Such autopsies should include interviews with relatives, friends and other professionals in close contact with the deceased; and
  • regulate commonly used lethal means of suicide, such as highly dangerous substances and firearms.

(See: Implementation of General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 Entitled “Human Rights Council,” Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Yakin Ertürk, Addendum, Mission to Turkey, 2007)

Example: Tajikistan punishes driving to suicide. (Article 109 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan provides :

(1) Driving an individual to suicide or attempt upon suicide by threat, cruel treatment, or systematic degrading the dignity of a victim is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 3 to 5 years.

(2) The same actions committed in regard to a person, who was in financial or other dependence of the guilty person, or committed in regard to a minor is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 5 to 8 years.

  • Legislation should provide for hotlines and crisis centers to provide immediate help for persons at-risk of suicide. Drafters should consult with civil society and other specialized organizations, such as the World Health Organization, in developing suicide prevention policies.

(See: Implementation of General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 Entitled “Human Rights Council,” Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Yakin Ertürk, Addendum, Mission to Turkey, 2007)