National Plan of Action to Prevent and Punish "Honor" Crimes
Last updated May 2010
Drafters should consider developing a national plan of action to combat “honor” crimes. Guidance can be found in the Beijing Platform for Action, which calls upon states to promulgate national plans of action. The Beijing Platform for Action recommends involving broad participation in the plan by national bodies that work on the advancement of women, the private sector, and other relevant institutions, including “legislative bodies, academic and research institutions, professional associations, trade unions, cooperatives, local community groups, non-governmental organizations, including women’s organizations and feminist groups, the media, religious groups, youth organizations and cultural groups, as well as financial and non-profit organizations” (¶¶ 294-95). The platform also emphasizes the importance of involving actors at the highest political levels, ensuring appropriate staffing and protocols are in place within ministries, having stakeholders review their goals, programs, and procedures within the framework of the plan, and engaging the media and public education to promote awareness of the plan (¶ 296). The plan should also address the roles and responsibilities of actors charged with implementing the plan. In this case, drafters should seek to engage and charge a wide range of actors as machinery for implementation. Relevant institutions include police, prosecutors, the judiciary, social services, children’s and juvenile authorities, equal opportunities offices, crime victim units, education, public health, prison and probationary authorities, disability agencies, administrative boards, immigration bureaus, cultural, religious, immigrant and ethnic community liaison offices, welfare, housing, religious groups, customary and local officials, offices working on issues related to women and girls, and civil society.
Drafters should also refer to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers draft strategy against “honor” crimes for guidance. The strategy aims to eliminate all forms of legislative justifications for mitigating or absolving criminal accountability for perpetrators who commit “honor” crimes; reiterates that no religion supports “honor” crimes; seeks to eradicate societal attitudes that condone “honor” crimes; provides for research to identify and address the root causes, and; supports the establishment of an international network dedicated to combating “honor” crimes. See: The urgent need to combat so-called “honour crimes,” CoE Resolution 1881, 2009, ¶ 2.
Drafters should mainstream women and girls’ human rights across diverse agency policies. They should ensure that other national development plans and poverty reduction strategies incorporate the relevant human rights standards related to women and girls into such programming and budgets. See: Theme: Addressing Gender Equality: A Persistent Challenge for Africa, Joint AU/ECA Conference of Ministers of Gender and Women’s Affairs, Aug. 25-29, 2008, p. 3.
Promising Practice: Jordan has established units in government departments to protect women and children. Its social services bureau monitors cases, provides legal advice to women victims or women at-risk, and assists in victims’ reintegration. See: U.N. Doc. A/57/169, p. 5.
  • increased protection and support to victims of violence
  • greater emphasis on preventive work
  • higher standards and greater efficiency in the judicial system
  • better measures targeting violent offenders
  • increased cooperation and coordination
  • enhanced knowledge and competence
It outlines several measures pertaining to each of the six strategies. In developing the plan, the Swedish Government adopted an overarching policy approach that uses a victim-centered approach and draws upon research. Its policy “overrid[es] ministry and agency lines, with the perspective of those at risk as the point of departure and based on the knowledge available on the areas concerned.”