No to honour-based violence

03.09.19 | News
 Young woman looking out of window
Photographer
Martin Zachrisson / Norden.org
The Nordic Council Welfare Committee wants the Nordic Region to be a place where people are able to pursue their dreams, free from honour-based violence and oppression, and is recommending that the governments work more closely together on the issue.

“One of the greatest challenges facing freedom of the individual in the Nordic Region these days is people not being allowed to decide their own futures and being dictated to by a culture based on arguments about honour. The Welfare Committee wants to put an end to that problem,” says committee member Maria Stockhaus. It is in this light that the Centre Group submitted its proposal to the Welfare Committee, which is now recommending that the Nordic governments work together to prevent and counteract honour-based violence and oppression.     

Violations of Individual rights

The term “honour culture” covers cultural patterns that restrict the freedom and rights of the individual, for example to take an education, have friends, enjoy hobbies, choose a partner and acknowledge your sexuality. The oppression and violence is directed at those within the culture who do not live up to these “demands”. It can take the form of psychological or physical violence.  

Learning from each other about what works

Specifically, the Nordic Council Welfare Committee is recommending to the governments that they work together on studying and sharing knowledge and initiatives to combat problems like child marriage, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and conditions for LGBT+ people in environments where a culture of honour is the norm. The knowledge generated would help official agencies intervene more effectively.     

One of the greatest challenges facing freedom of the individual in the Nordic Region these days is people not being allowed to decide their own futures and being dictated to by a culture based on arguments about honour. The Welfare Committee wants to put an end to that problem.

Maria Stockhaus, the Nordic Council Welfare Committee

It is also a gender-equality issue

“It is important that official agencies intervene early with preventative measures and provide the best possible help when damage is inflicted,” says Committee chair Bente Stein Mathiesen. She also points out that the proposal also has a gender-equality perspective, which the Welfare Committee sees as a priority and is an important part of Agenda 2030, specifically Goal 5: Equality between the sexes.