Human rights violations in countries which subject women to so-called "honour punishment


NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY ON 16 MARCH 2005

QUESTION NO 7

Rev K R J Meshoe (ACDP) to ask the Deputy President:

Whether the Government has taken or intends taking any action in respect of human rights violations in countries which subject women to so-called "honour punishment" such as acid burning, rape and murder for the alleged crimes of relatives; if not why not; if so (a) what steps and (b) with what results?
N464E

REPLY:
The crimes that the Honourable member refers to are crimes committed by individuals and not by states. These crimes are linked to certain cultural or traditional practices, and information at our disposal indicates that the transgressions are not sanctioned by any government nor defended by any faith.

International human rights law consistently condemns torture and other cruel methods of punishment as inconsistent with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The most instructive international instrument in this regard is the The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to which South Africa is a signatory.

The South African Government jointly with other members of the international community condemns such practices at all the United Nations Human Rights Forums, as they are inconsistent with the international human rights standards and norms. These practices also undermine the core provisions of the international human rights law.

South Africa was also one of the main proponents of the recently adopted Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture which provides for mandatory visits to countries and places of detention where torture is reported to be systematically taking place.

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