12 Honour Killings In 13 Years Too Much For Canada

MONTREAL  – As the high-profile Shafia honour killing trial in Canadian history draws to a close, new numbers show that despite much talk about ethnic honour killings – there has been only 12 incidents in Canada over the last 13 years.

By comparison – regular (white or ethnic) domestic murders are in the hundreds

A study by the University of Sherbrooke shows there have been 12 honour-killing victims in Canada since 1999 compared with three between 1954 and 1983.

All of the cases involved at least one female victim, and all of the killers were immigrants, according to the study that appears in the latest issue of the Canadian Criminal Law Review.

Most of the perpetrators were men and the average victim was 21 years old.

The Shafia murder case, in which three young girls and a woman were murdered by their family, prompted the Conservatives to mull setting up a separate criminal law, which many ethnic groups criticized as the rightwing government’s penchant to insult and demean ethnic communities.

Law professor Marie-Pierre Robert, who authored the University of Sherbrooke study, said data indicates such a move isn’t needed because honour killers are always prosecuted to the maximum under Canadian law.

“Often it’s first-degree murder, which means life in prison in the great majority of cases,” she said. “Even in the other cases, there are very severe sentences.”

Some believe that targeting women and girls because of what they wear or who they date could be considered a gender-based hate crime.

The law professor suggested a focus on prevention that stresses an education in Canadian values for newcomers.

“The culture of equality between men and women . . . must be stressed,” said Robert.

Honour killings in Canada

– Aqsa Parvez, 16, strangled to death in Toronto in 2007 for refusing to wear the hijab. Father Muhammad Parvez and brother Waqas Parvez sentenced to life in prison

– Hasibullah Sadiqi, sentenced to life in prison for shooting his sister and her fiance in Edmonton on Sept. 19, 2006. He claimed they had brought dishonour on his family.

-Rajinder Singh Atwal stabbed his 17-year-old daughter Amandeep to death in 2003 for insisting on living with her boyfriend. Atwal found guilty of second-degree murder in 2005 and sentenced to life in prison.

-Adi Abdul Humaid stabbed his wife, Aysar Abbas, 23 times in the neck and once in the heart on a lonely stretch of B.C. road on Oct. 14, 1999. He said he thought she was sleeping with her business associate. Sentenced to life in prison.

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