At least 943 Pakistani women and girls were murdered last year for allegedly defaming their family’s honour, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said on Thursday.
The statistics highlight the growing scale of violence suffered by many women in the absence of laws against domestic violence.
Despite some progress on protecting women’s rights, activists say the government needs to do more to prosecute murderers in cases largely dismissed by police as private, family affairs.
“At least 943 women were killed in the name of honour, of which 93 were minors,” wrote the HRCP in its annual report.
Seven Christian and two Hindu women were among the victims, it said.
The rights group catalogued 791 “honour killings” in 2010. Around 595 of the women killed in 2011 were accused of having “illicit relations” and 219 of marrying without permission. Some victims were raped or gang raped before being killed, the commission said. Most of the women were killed by their brothers and husbands. Only 20 of 943 killed were reported to have been provided medical aid before they died, it added.
Activists have praised the parliament for passing laws aimed at strengthening women’s protection against abuses. Rights groups say the government should do more, however, to ensure that women subjected to violence, harassment and discrimination have effective access to justice.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2012.