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12 ‘honour killings’ recorded in Germany in the last two years

Most took place at Islamic environments by members of the own family. “It is the most despicable expression of gender-based violence”, says the minister of Justice.

FUENTES Die Welt AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus BERLIN 06 DE FEBRERO DE 2024 18:00 h
A woman in a street in Berlin, Germany. / Photo: [link] Florian Kurrasch[/link], Unsplash CC0.

A recent study by women rights organisation Terre des Femmes shows that at least 26 people in Germany were victims of attempted or completed so-called honour killingsbetween 2022 and 2023.

According to the research, there were twelve victims of violence in the name of honour in the past two years, ten of whom were women. There were also 14 victims of attempted murders, including nine women, reported German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Terre des Femmes also documented 19 cases of attempted and completed ‘honour killings’ in 2021, so that in the past three years, there were a total of 45 victims, 22 of whom lost their lives.

In most cases, the killings took place at environments dominated by Islam, and the perpetrators often belong to the family of the victims.

Murderers also kill men who they consider “illegitimate new partners or fathers of illegitimate children”, to “restore the violated family honour”.


Ongoing violence

To collect all possible cases, the women rights organization evaluates press reports about sentences or ongoing proceedings.

It is carried out with a view to two years, because the court process often only begins in the year after the crime and therefore it only becomes public then.

However, “the fatal offenses that come to public attention represent only a small part of this violence. In the majority of cases, there is also evidence of previous violence that has been going on for years, and takes place much more often in secret”, warned Myria Böhmecke, of Terre des Femmes.

“In many cases, the violent situation was known, but the danger was underestimated. Those affected need the opportunity to be accepted into a kind of witness protection program in the event of imminent danger”, she added.


“The most despicable expression of gender-based violence”

For federal minister of Justice Marco Buschmann, the so-called ‘honour killings’ are “the most despicable expression of gender-based violence. They are based on an erroneous understanding of honour, usually coupled with the reactionary understanding of a man's claim to ownership over his wife or daughter”.

Buschmann's cabinet colleague Lisa Paus, who is responsible for family and women policy, pointed out that “the vast majority of so-called ‘honour killings’ are femicides. We must consistently combat and prosecute these terrible acts”, she concluded.


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