Justice for Shame: Dismantling Honor Killings

Difficulity: Beginner

Single Delegate

Council Description:

A subsidiary organ to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was enacted in 2006 with a total of 47 member states. As elaborated within A/RES/60/251, the UNHRC has a mandate of promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and guaranteeing fundamental freedoms for everyone across the globe. In executing its mandate, the UNHRC is capable of recommending solutions and advice to solve threats to human rights and gross human rights violations.

Topic Description:

The United Nations (UN) is no stranger to the gruesome violations that are the “honor killings” phenomenon. According to the UN, since the year 2000, there is an estimated number of 5,000 honor killings occurring worldwide. Honor killings, also synonymous with shame killings, could be defined as murders that occur due to the perpetrator’s belief that the victim has brought dishonor to the perpetrator or their family, or because the victim has violated the ethical codes of a community. Despite initial definitions of honor killings being centered around women's experiences with sexism—hence why honor killings tend to be categorized under Gender-Based Violence (GBV)—recent developments have highlighted how men are also victims of this phenomenon. There are many things that could incite honor killings to occur, such as homosexuality, being a victim of rape, refusal to an arranged marriage, and so forth. However, to dissect the issue of honor killings, one must look upon a multitude of contributing factors. Honor killings have often been attributed to Eastern Hemisphere states, as societies within this region generally have deeply-rooted cultural contexts that could perpetuate the issue of honor killings. However, this phenomenon does not occur exclusively in said regions. Various states that are assumed to be more “morally progressive” still have laws that grant leniency and differentiated punishments for honor-based violence and killings. Delegates are urged to discuss whether or not the Committee should apply a universal or particularist approach in dismantling the problem of honor killings globally.

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