Region | Palestinian Territories

Palestinian women await scrapping of honour killing

Palestinian Women's Movement wants deal implemented to make way for change in law allowing crimes of honour

  • By Nasouh Nazzal, Correspondent
  • Published: 09:53 February 14, 2012
  • Gulf News

Ramallah: The Palestinian Women's Movement is awaiting the implementation of the reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah, which will pave the way for a legitimate parliament to approve the long-awaited legislation which abolishes the legal clauses that allow crimes of honour.

In an interview with Gulf News, Rawdah Baseer, an activist of the Palestinian Feminist Movement and head of the Palestinian Women's Studies Centre, said the legislation once approved will be a key achievement for the women fighting against this menace since the 1990s.

"We resent those two clauses which led to the death of many innocent women in our land," she said.

She said that the movement has studied the Palestinian Criminal Law, which is originally Jordanian, in detail and came up with amendments.

"An average of 12 women are killed annually in the Palestinian Territories on honour grounds," she said. "Men are taking advantage of the law," she stressed.

A man who kills a relative is either pardoned, given a suspended sentence or six months to three years imprisonment which is reduced further once appealed, she said. However, when a woman murders her unfaithful husband, she is given a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. "This is not acceptable any more," she said.

"The Palestinian courts do not even investigate the women's cases, and once the accused men claim they had acted on honour grounds, their claims are approved and sentenced accordingly," she said. "This is unfair."

A recent study by the Arab World Research and Development revealed that 74.5 per cent of the youth want the clauses abolished.

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