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Public education

Drafters should ensure that laws on “honour” crimes and killings include provision for public awareness and educational campaigns. Information campaigns should aim to dispel gender stereotypes and negative perceptions that discriminate against women and girls and to increase understanding of gender equality and women and girls’ rights. Also, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, child protection service providers, educators, health providers, media and advocates must undergo training to understand “honour” crimes, its causes, effects, indicators and available remedies and resources for women and girls who are victims of or at-risk of “honour” crimes and killings. “Honour” crimes legislation should provide for collaboration with civil society organizations in crafting and implementing these educational campaigns.  Laws should also provide for the establishment of a central website dedicated to furnishing information about “honour” crimes, victims’ legal rights, and resources for victims and those working them.

Example: The non-governmental Turkish organization, Women for Women’s Human Rights, works in collaboration with the General Directorate for Social Services and Child Protection to provide trainings to women throughout Turkey in socio-economically disadvantaged districts with high immigrant populations. The program social workers as trainers and provides workshops on 16 different topics, including violence against women and strategies against violence. (See: Liz Ercevik Amado, The Human Rights Education Program for Women (HREP): Utilizing state resources to promote women’s human rights in Turkey, New Tactics in Human Rights, 2005) Drafters should ensure that public education programs mandate government agencies to work in partnership with and financially support non-governmental groups with expertise in “honour” crimes and killings.

Laws should ensure that target audiences of these awareness-raising campaigns include religious and community leaders, youth, communities of concern, including minority ethnic communities or immigrants’ communities, media, healthcare, and social and educational sectors that work with children and women.

  • Outreach to religious and customary leaders and institutions should seek to provide them with human rights education, as well as engage them to publicly condemn “honour” crimes. (See: United Nations General Assembly Resolution, “Working towards the elimination of crimes against women and girls committed in the name of honour,” A/RES/59/165 (20045); (¶ 34) and Council of Europe Resolution 1681 (2009) (¶ 4.5-4.7); Civil and Political Rights, Including the Question of Disappearances and Executions: Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Report of the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Asma Jahangir, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2001/9, ¶ 41)
  • Public education of women and girls should provide information on “honour”-based violence, their rights, how to report such crimes and obtain protection, and resources and service providers available to assist them.
  • Public education of service providers and sectors working with children should include a focus on detecting risks of “honour” crimes. and formulating appropriate preventative responses. In particular, given that many “honour” crimes involve girls and young women, educators and school employees should receive information about how to identify and effectively respond to youth at risk of “honour” crimes.   Schools and youth centers should also make available information about resources for those at risk of “honour” crimes, such as furnishing information about victim service providers, shelters, and legal aid.
  • Public awareness campaigns should also target the media to educate them on the human rights violations associated with “honour” crimes and encourage them to report on these crimes in a respectful manner that maintains victims' dignity and privacy. Media should be trained on reporting the dynamics of violence against women and “honour” crimes. (See: Council of Europe Resolution 1681 “The urgent need to combat so-called “honour crimes,” 2009, ¶ 4.7
  • Public education efforts should also target the law sector, including judges, police and prosecutors, through trainings on the dynamics of “honour”-based violence and women’s human rights. 
  • Laws should also provide for the creation of educational programs in schools to teach young people about gender-based violence, gender equality, women’s human rights, and alternatives to violence in resolving disputes.