General Principles

last updated December 2014

In partnership with UN Women, The Advocates for Human Rights created the following sections for UN Women's Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls. This section, along with sections addressing other forms of violence against women and girls, may be found under Legislation at www.endvawnow.org.

Preamble

The legislative preamble sets the stage for the entire piece of legislation. The following elements are important to a strong and inclusive legislative preamble on “honour” crimes: 

       IT acknowledges that the root cause of violence against women and girls is the subordinate status of women in society. (See: DEVAW, CEDAW, CEDAW General Recommendations 12 and 19, UN Secretary-General’s study on violence against women, and Other Causes and Complicating Factors, and International Domestic Violence Law, both at Stop VAW, the Advocates for Human Rights)

       IT defines discrimination against women. (United Nations Handbook for legislation on violenceagainst women, 3.1.1)          

       IT protects all women and girls. (United Nations Handbook for legislation on violence against women, 3.1.3)              

       IT states that governments are obligated to take all appropriate measures “[t]o modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women” (CEDAW, Art. 5(a))


       IT reaffirms that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person (ICCPR, Arts. 6(1) and 9(1)), as well as the right to freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

       IT excludes customary, cultural or religious justifications for violence against women. United Nations Handbook for legislation on violence against women, 3.1.5 and states that honour crimes are “incompatible with all religious and cultural values” (See United Nations General Assembly, 2004, Working towards the elimination of crimes against women and girls committed in the name of honour, A/C.3/59/L.25, p. 2; the Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, a framework for model legislation on domestic violence, 1996, E/CN.4/1996/53/Add.2)

       IT states that the main principles of the legislation are to promote safety for the complainant/survivor and accountability for the perpetrator. (See: Drafting Laws on Domestic Violence, and United Nations Model Legislation, Stop VAW, the Advocates for Human Rights)      


       IT states that governments are obligated to exercise due diligence and prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish “honour” crimes, as well as provide protection to victims. See United Nations General Assembly Resolution Working towards the elimination of crimes against women and girls committed in the name of honour (2004).

       IT emphasizes that there is no “honour” in “honour” crimes and killings.