Femicide in the CEE/FSU

last updated September 5, 2008 

Statistics on intimate partner femicide are not easily obtainable in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, as most state agencies do not collect gender-disaggregated data on violence in the family. According to a 2006 report by Amnesty International, the government of Belarus reported that 166 people were murdered in the context of domestic relationships in 2005, but could not specify how many of them were women. In the Ukraine, women comprised most of the 1,008 murders and 402 manslaughters committed in the home during the first nine months of 2006 according to an Amnesty report. In Russia, more than 14,000 women are killed annually by their husbands or other family members, as estimated by the Russian Government and reported by the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. Human Rights Watch received anecdotal accounts of intimate partner femicide in Kyrgyzstan due to a lack of disaggregated statistics. The Advocates for Human Rights have reported intimate partner femicide in Armenia, Bulgaria, and Moldova.

Honor crimes have been reported in Albania, Afghanistan, and Turkey by Amnesty International and the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. According to the Special Rapporteur, non-governmental organizations in Turkey have documented dozens of honor murders every year. An Amnesty International report estimated that in 2003, 40 out of 77 women murdered in Turkish homes were honor killings. The killings are often performed by a young man or boy acting on a decision by the family council according to the Special Rapporteur’s report. The act is presented as retribution for a grave immorality committed by the woman, but, according to the Special Rapporteur’s report, proof of the “dishonorable act” is not required. The Special Rapporteur also stated that women in some regions of Turkey may be committing honor suicides under the duress of family members. In 2003, at least 25 suspicious suicides have been reported in the east and southeast regions of Turkey, according to Amnesty International. In Afghanistan, Amnesty International reported an increase in cases of self-immolation of women due to violence in the family. It is not clear, however, if family members were setting the women on fire or if the women were burning themselves.