On Monday dawn, (Sh. H.), 26, from al-Naser village in Rafah, was killed on grounds of family honor. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) calls for taking necessary measures to stop such crimes, consider them like any other criminal offenses and apply the same provisions.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 01:20 on Monday, 17 June 2019, (Y. H.), 24, from Khan Yunis, called to inform the Rafah police station that he killed his sister (Sh. H.), 26, on grounds of family honor inside his uncle house in al-Naser village, north of Rafah. Following that, police officers accompanied with a prosecutor headed to the area and initiated an investigation into the crime. The victim was taken to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah. Medical sources stated that (Sh. H.) arrived as a dead body and there were signs of strangulation on her neck, scratches on her chest and bleeding from her nose and mouth. She was then referred to the Forensic Medicine Department in Gaza to identify the death cause. The suspected person said that he strangulated his sister with a rope after knowing that she is in an extramarital relationship. He added that medical tests proved that she was pregnant though she was divorced. The suspected person added that he brought his sister to his uncle house and detained her for few days before killing her in the house yard.

This crime is considered the first to be reported on grounds of “family honor” in the Gaza Strip and the second in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) during 2019.  Moreover, six Palestinian civilians, including four women, were killed last year on similar grounds.

PCHR expresses the utmost concern over the continued murders on grounds of “family honor” in the Palestinian society and calls for taking the necessary measures to stop such crimes, consider them like other criminal offenses and apply the same provisions.

On 15 May 2011, President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decision with the power of law, abolishing the eased sentences issued against the crimes committed to maintain “family honor”. PCHR hopes that this decision would be a step towards the elimination of these crimes, as those who commit these crimes enjoy the immunity granted to them through the issuance of eased sentences against them (maximum of 3-year imprisonment).  Although 8 years have passed following the issuance of this decision, it has been non-deterrent.

PCHR calls upon the competent authorities to prosecute the perpetrators of “family honor” murders. These murders must be dealt with in the same manner as any other murders, taking into consideration the international human rights standards.

PCHR calls for making more community efforts, including civil society efforts, to end this crime and raise awareness on its risks in the Palestinian society.