The Netherlands want to combat 'honour' crimes better

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In our annual review of countries that do not properly address honor killings, the Netherlands is invariably at the top because the Netherlands does not address honor killings according to laws and regulations, for example, investigators must consult local mosque officials if Islam plays a role in the crime, and honest whistleblowers in honor killings are mercilessly and unjustly prosecuted by authorities for years.

The Netherlands is now promising to take a very different approach and to better combat honor killings, as the EU has recommended to its member states. The EU wants the perpetrators of honor killings to be prosecuted on a large scale to combat the phenomenon vigorously.

The coalition agreement contains the following passage on combating honor killings: "A democratic society can only function if we draw a line when freedoms of the other are threatened, when everyone participates and discrimination is fought. There is no place in our society for homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, (online) sexual exploitation, honour killings, genital mutilation, child marriage, forced marriages, hate speech and violence against dissidents and minorities. We are taking action against this, including addressing online threats, protecting victims, encouraging reporting, and visa implications."

Some call it Islamophobic or racist that the Netherlands wants to improve the fight against honor killings in particular, but that reasoning is flawed because the people who commit honor-related violence are not always followers of Islam, nor do they always have dark skin or a non-Western cultural background.

Honor crimes experts point out that the Netherlands must first prove that it is serious about combating honor crimes by, for example, prosecuting principals and ending the prosecution of honest whistleblowers in honor killing cases.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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