About HASP

Scope

Honour related violence (HRV) is a collection of practices which are used to control behaviour and exert power within families to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators consider that an individual, usually a woman, has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code. The individual is being punished for actually or allegedly undermining what the family or community believes to be the correct code of behaviour.

Honour based violence is a fundamental abuse of Human Rights. There is no honour in the carrying out or commissioning of murder, kidnap and the many other acts, behaviour and conduct which make up violence in the name of honour.

Honour related violence can take place across national and international boundaries, within extended families and communities and often cuts across cultures, communities and faith groups; including Turkish, Kurdish, Afghani, South Asian, African, Middle Eastern and European. This is not an exhaustive list. The term is used to describe violence, which sometimes results in a murder, in the name of so-called honour. This is when – predominantly – women are injured or killed for perceived immoral behaviour, which is deemed to have breached the honour code of a family or community, causing shame.

Combating gender-based violence has been recognised as a responsibility of national and international actors at governmental and non-governmental level. Each state in particular has the responsibility to develop and implement national strategies to combat violence, in accordance with international statutes. In particular, ‘honour crimes’ are acknowledged as a violation of existing universal norms relating to human rights. The UN resolution 2004, states that:

Bearing in mind also that crimes against women committed in the name of honour are a human rights issue and states have an obligation to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish the perpetrators of such crimes and to provide protection to the victims, that the failure to do so constitutes a human rights violation.”

With reference to Europe, the 2009 European Parliamentary Assembly noted this in their Resolution 1681 which noted the dire need to address honor crimes. The resolution stated that:

“On so-called ‘honor crimes,’ the Parliamentary Assembly notes that the problem, far from diminishing, has worsened, including in Europe. It mainly affects women, who are its most frequent victims, both in Europe and the rest of the world, especially in patriarchal and fundamentalist communities and societies. For this reason, it asked the Council of Europe member states to ‘draw up and put into effect national action plans to combat violence against women, including violence committed in the name of so-called ‘honor,’ if they have not already done so.”

No official figures on the incidence of honour related violence are available, although there is a consensus that the ‘hidden statistics’ could be higher as a result of under-reporting. Also, there are variations between different national contexts and both corresponding and non-corresponding cultural (or other) traits.

Honour Ambassadors against Shame Practices-HASP project adopts a gender-based approach and aims to contribute to the combat of HRV against women in five EU countries: Italy, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria and the UK. These countries constitute highly differentiated settings in geographical, social and cultural terms and, within which, the HRV incidents recorded are also highly differentiated, due to a number of various factors.

Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. According to the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, one in three women (33 %) in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since she was 15 years old. In order for human rights ideas to be effective, they need to be translated firstly into local terms and situated within local contexts of power and meaning. Local communities in the participating countries will reframe human rights ideas to fit into their system of cultural meaning and, then, through a bottom-up approach of transnational cooperation and exchange, these ideas will transform women’s realities across Europe. The HASP project aims to raise the level of awareness/consciousness of the occurrence of such incidents in Europe, ranging from forced marriage to so called “honor crimes”, and promote preventive measures. In this way the HASP project aspires to reform the European policies related to the HRV and cover the need for dignity and social justice.

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