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UK: Femicide – 125 women killed by men March 2021 – 2022

Femicide – 125 women killed by men March 2021 – 2022

See the full list and pictures HERE


By Joan Smith


Telegraph (03.03.2022) – https://bit.ly/3s0VHbq – Some of their faces are familiar, but dozens more we are seeing for the first time.


Their names are barely known, except to families and friends. But two other women and a teenage girl were killed by men in the same week that Sarah Everard’s murder shook the country to its core a year ago. Four murders of women in such a short space of time is unusual – it tends to be between two and three per week – but it is a stark reminder of how many of their deaths go unremarked.


Around 125 women have been killed by men since March last year. The figure is not definitive because the perpetrator has yet to be identified in some cases. But we know that the victims ranged in age from 16 to 88. Most were attacked by someone known to them and many died in their own homes, challenging the notion that the streets are the most dangerous place for women.


Some of their faces are familiar, such as Sabina Nessa, the 28-year-old primary school teacher attacked while walking through a London park to meet a friend; Julia James, 53, a PCSO killed while walking her dog; teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod, who went missing from a bus stop and was found dead on a Devon beach in November last year.


Dozens more – some of whom are pictured above, all of whom are named below – we are seeing for the first time.


The figure is substantially higher than in 2020, when the annual Femicide Census recorded 110 women killed, but similar to the 128 recorded in 2019. Despite all the assurances by police and government ministers that they are determined to protect women, the number killed by men has never fallen below two a week.


The list shatters some myths, demonstrating that stranger-killings like that of Sarah Everard are comparatively rare. The largest number of women are killed by current or former partners, while the next most significant group is mothers killed by sons; anyone who thinks that matricide is a rare event, confined to Greek tragedy, should think again. Sexually motivated murders are third on the list.


The popular notion that women in their 20s and 30s are most at risk is quite wrong, confirming the urgent need to make tackling violence against older women a priority.


Of the women killed over the last 12 months, 11 were in their 70s, another nine were 80 or older and 14 were in their 60s. That’s over a quarter of the total. There is a peculiar horror about these fatal attacks on older women, some of them carried out by men they gave birth to and raised.


In April last year, a DJ strangled his mother, 85-year-old Loretta Herman, in their east London home. Mark Herman, 54, later killed himself in a secure mental health facility. It is one of many cases in which there were warning signs: Herman, who had been unable to work because of Covid, had previously attempted suicide and attacked his mother.


It followed a horrendous murder-suicide the previous month in Northern Ireland. Karen McClean, 50, was stabbed to death by her son, Ken Flanagan, 26, who went on to kill his girlfriend, Stacey Knell, 30, and himself. Friends of the family, who lived in Northern Ireland, said Ms McClean had been worried that her son was using drugs and might hurt himself or someone else. Ms Knell’s previous partner, who had a child with her, had contacted police and social services the day before the double murder.


There is a repeated sense of the police letting women down. One of those failed was Yasmin Chkaifi, 43, who was killed in January, in Maida Vale, by her ex-husband. There was an arrest warrant out for Leon McCaskie, who had been accused of breaching an interim stalking protection order and failed to appear in court, when he stabbed his former partner on the street. Friends told how Yasmin had previously predicted that she would die at her ex-husband’s hands. Her son, Zayd Bakkali, has since said he will “never fully trust” the police again.


A look at figures from the Femicide Census in recent years shows that the number of women confirmed to have been killed by a man they know hovers between the 60-65 per cent mark each year (that number is likely higher, but the killer has not been caught).


That was the case for the youngest victim last year: 16-year-old Wenjing Ling. She was killed two days after Sarah Everard, strangled at her family’s Chinese takeaway in Wales. The murder was carried out by a friend, Chun Xu, 32, who had gambling debts and owed money to the family. In November last year, Xu was jailed for a minimum of 30 years for the murder. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Wenjing’s stepfather.


Three days earlier, Samantha Heap, 45, was found dead in a flat in Congleton, Cheshire. Her neighbour, David Mottram, 47, strangled, stabbed and inflicted multiple blunt force injuries on her. Mottram boasted that he killed Ms Heap “because he didn’t like her”. He was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 30 years. 


Another woman was killed on the day following Ms Everard’s murder. Geetika Goyal, 29, met a hideous death at the hands of her husband, Kashish Aggarwal, 28. Ms Goyal’s body was found with 19 stab wounds, wrapped in plastic and dumped in a street in Leicester. Aggarwal told her family she had gone missing but later admitted murder, and was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years and six months in prison. 


What’s striking about these murders is that the men received long prison sentences, but too late to help their victims. Around three-fifths of men who kill women known are found guilty of murder or manslaughter, a relatively high proportion, but they are clearly not deterred by the prospect of spending decades in prison.


A chilling feature is the prevalence of “over-killing”, where the perpetrator uses far more force than was needed. These are men who refuse to control their rage towards the women in their lives – and their prior behaviour offers ample warnings. In the decade after the Femicide Census was founded in 2009, a history of domestic abuse featured in 59 per cent of killings committed by current or former partners.


During the outcry that followed Sarah Everard’s murder, many people expressed the hope that it would be a turning point. We now have 125 reasons to doubt that aspiration. 


It is in part a consequence of an under-funded criminal justice system, but it is also a question of priorities. Women who report abuse or threats to kill still don’t get the advice and protection they need, and police have been slow to use measures such as domestic violence prevention orders. The failures are so egregious that there appears to be an unspoken assumption that a certain level of fatalities is inevitable. 


The agonies these women went through – stabbed, strangled, bludgeoned, raped, even set on fire – are almost unbearable to contemplate. Like Sarah Everard, they all had a right to life, but every single one was let down.

Photo credits: Paul Grover for the Telegraph

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EU: 28 Factsheets on the femicide framework in EU member states, EIGE report

28 Factsheets on the femicide framework in EU member states

EIGE (04.01.2022) – https://eige.europa.eu/gender-based-violence/femicide Femicide is the most severe manifestation of gender-based violence.

It is deeply rooted in and a manifestation of power imbalances in society, which promotes an unequal status for men and women. Femicide is broadly defined as the killing of a woman or girl because of her gender, and can take different forms, such as the murder of women as a result of intimate partner violence; the torture and misogynist slaying of women; killing of women and girls in the name of “honour”; etc.

EIGE has carried out four studies on administrative data collection and developed 13 indicators on intimate partner violence, rape and femicide for the police and justice sectors. The necessity to better understand and measure the phenomenon of femicide has led EIGE to develop a definition of femicide:

EIGE has developed 28 factsheets on the femicide framework in Member States.

Data collection systems vary widely across EU Member States, as they draw on various sources.

EIGE has collected information from a wide variety of stakeholders through a questionnaire sent to official data providers and an online survey filled in by national experts. Based on these EIGE is presenting country-factsheets with detailed information on the data gathering at national level.




























United Kingdom


EIGE is currently working in a project entitled “Improving legal responses to counter Femicide” (2021).

The overall aim of the study is to improve the institutional responses by identifying the gaps within and between law and in practice when providing justice to victims of femicide.

The report will be published in 2022.


Photo credits: Europass

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PAKISTAN: Outcry in Pakistan over beheading of ex-ambassador’s daughter

PAKISTAN: Outcry in Pakistan over beheading of former ambassador’s daughter

By Miriam Berger


The Washington Post (27.07.2021) – https://wapo.st/3leNgqF – The name Noor Mukadam has ricocheted through Pakistani news and social media since the 27-year-old daughter of a former Pakistani diplomat was found beheaded at home in an upscale part of Islamabad, renewing attention on the country’s paltry record of addressing violence against women.


Police arrested suspect Zahir Zakir Jaffer at the site the night of the attack on July 20. Police on Saturday jailed his mother and father, reportedly a wealthy businessman, as well as two household staff members, who are accused of serving as accomplices and trying to hide evidence, according to Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper.


The shocking details of Mukadam’s killing — her beheaded body showed signs of torture and stabs — has stirred anger in Pakistan and diaspora communities, which have held vigils and rallied around her online.


Her death has also renewed calls for police and politicians to prioritize pursuing justice for victims like Mukadam, notably by strengthening the country’s limited domestic violence laws, the first of which was passed in 2013.


“Another day. Another woman brutally killed. Another hashtag. Another trauma. Another (likely) unsolved case. Another trigger. Another fear fest,” Meesha Shafi, a Pakistani actress and singer, wrote on Twitter after Mukadam’s death.


While police acted swiftly in arresting a suspect, some have questioned whether, without Mukadam’s social capital as a former diplomat’s daughter in an upscale neighborhood, her plight would have reached the public’s radar.


“Noor’s horrific murder is a test for a system that too easily bends to power and influence,” columnist Fatima Bhutto, the niece and granddaughter of two former Pakistani prime ministers, wrote on Twitter. “But it must also be a test for us — imagine the number of men who inflict such brutality on women every day without being seen, without being noticed, because the victims are poor & unknown.”


Legislation to tighten protections for women against violence has frequently faced pushback from religious and community leaders in the socially conservative country, which is governed in part by a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Pakistan ranked 164th out of 167 countries in Georgetown University’s Women, Peace, and Security Index in 2019, the latest year for which statistics are available.


In 2016, following the killing of social media star Qandeel Baloch by her brother, Pakistan’s Parliament passed a law closing a loophole concerning so-called honor killings, or the murder of females by family members for allegedly shameful acts. The law previously allowed the victim’s family to pardon the assailant.


Jaffer, a dual Pakistani-U.S. citizen, was reportedly an acquaintance of Mukadam. The exact motive for and circumstances of his alleged attack remain unclear.


Jaffer had previously been deported from Britain for involvement in a rape and sexual harassment case, Pakistani police told Dawn.


Mukadam’s father, Shaukat Ali Mukadam, served as Pakistan’s ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan. The family also lived for a time in Dublin, where acquaintances fondly remembered and paid tribute to Mukadam after her death, the Irish Times reported.


“I am disgusted to learn the details of what happened to Noor Mukadam,” she wrote. Jamil added “that this level of violence no longer surprises me considering the ongoing violence against women in Pakistan and India.” She urged “men in the public eye to speak out about this.”


Despite the uproar over Mukadam’s killing, journalist Arifa Noor, writing in Dawn, said she doubted that any major overhaul of police work and other protections for women would follow. Already, she said, there are questions about whether police collected sufficient evidence from the crime scene, which would be crucial in any subsequent trial.


“Individual cases can put state organisations under pressure and be seen as ‘test cases’ or ‘watershed moments’ but they may not prove sufficient to change the unspoken function of the police and how it is expected to perform — even in urban centres,” she wrote.


Photo credits: Sohail Shahzad/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock


Further reading about women’s rights on HRWF website 




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ALGERIA: War against women/ Femicide cases denounced

ALGERIA: War against women

By Dalia Ghanem


Middle East Institute (08.02.2021) – https://bit.ly/3fd4Wz1 – On Jan. 26, an Algerian journalist from the public channel TV4 Tamazight, Tinhinane Laceb, was murdered by her husband. Just two days earlier, on Jan. 24, Warda Hafedh, a 45-year-old mother of five, was murdered by her spouse. Warda was hit in the head three times with a hammer and stabbed in the heart five times. The attack took place in front of her six- year-old daughter.


Tinhinane and Warda are but two victims among many. Last October, the story of Chaïma, a 19-year-old who was kidnapped, raped, beaten, and burned alive in the small town of Thénia, made headlines. The poignant video of Chaïma’s mother calling on President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to order the death penalty against her daughter’s killer gave rise to a debate on social media over its use. The death penalty is still on the books in Algeria but has been suspended since 1993 following a moratorium. According to local media, President Tebboune called for the application of a “maximum sentence without the possibility of relief or pardon.”


Chaïma’s murder and other recent killings have sparked outrage across Algeria. Many Algerians have expressed their anger on social media over this dangerous trend of violence against women, with the hashtag #WeLostOneOfUs trending on Twitter. In Algiers, Béjaïa, Constantine, and Oran, hundreds of women defied pandemic lockdown restrictions to protest and voice their anger over the increase in femicides in the country and the state’s inertia.


Femicide and other gender-based violence are turning into a real public-health crisis. There are no comprehensive statistics available on gender-based violence and femicide in Algeria; however, figures published annually by the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN) and the Gendarmerie are worrying as they represent only the tip of the iceberg. Recent statistics from the police, as reported by Algerian media, indicate that more than 7,000 cases of violence against women were recorded in 2018. As for femicide, according to the only available resource, “feminicides-dz,” a website created by two feminist activists tracking the phenomenon and aimed at making the victims’ faces and stories known, 75 women from all backgrounds and ages (up to 80 years old) died at the hands of their intimate partners, fathers, brothers, brothers-in-law, sons, or strangers in 2019, and another 54 in 2020.


While the Algerian state has implemented long-overdue legal and institutional reforms to promote and protect women’s rights since 2014, such measures have been unable to protect women against violence in general and domestic violence in particular. Corporal punishment of women by their husbands or male relatives is widespread and accepted in society as a method of discipline. In addition, stigmatization and hostility from society and police enforcement toward women who complain about or report domestic violence are also severe obstacles to women’s protection as well. Successive governments have failed on two fronts: on the one hand, in making a comprehensive law to enhance women’s protection and prevent domestic violence, and on the other, to provide survivors and their children with adequate support services.



The laws — and their flaws


To better protect women, in 2015 the Algerian legislature put in place a law criminalizing sexual harassment, expanding its scope, and strengthening penalties for it. The law also amended the penal code to criminalize domestic violence. For the first time in Algeria, following the implementation of the 2015 law, violence within the family can be prosecuted under Articles 264 to 276 of the penal code, which prescribe penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment. This law made assaulting a spouse punishable by up to 20 years in prison for injuries and a life sentence for injuries resulting in death (Article 266 bis). However, for several reasons, this law fails to fully protect women and end violence against them.


First, the law applies only to spouses and ex-spouses living in the same or separate residences, but does not apply to relatives, unmarried couples, or other members of the household. Provisions on assault and psychological or economic violence do not apply to an individual in intimate non-marital relationships or to family members or members of the same household.


Second, in Article 264, there is a penalty of one to five years in prison and a fine for violent acts that lead to illness or an incapacity to work for more than 15 days. However, a medical certificate is required to prove this, hindering survivors’ access to justice and, by extension, to their perpetrators’ prosecution. In addition, violent acts that do not incapacitate the victim for more than 15 days are considered misdemeanors, except if premeditated (i.e., an ambush) or if a weapon is used (Article 266).


Third, the law does not forbid mediation and conciliation; moreover, a perpetrator may even receive a reduced sentence or avoid punishment altogether if pardoned by a spouse (n° 15-19, 2015: Article 266 bis, 266 bis 1, 330 bis). There is often considerable social and family pressure on the victim to pardon her attacker and this may dissuade her from seeking court remedies in the future. Another obstacle women encounter besides social pressure is lousy treatment by the police, who are frequently dismissive, discourage them from filing complaints, and lack due diligence and follow-up when carrying out an investigation (if there is one).


In addition, there is no provision for a protective order, known as a restraining order, to protect the victim and improve the prosecution of her case. There are also no provisions preventing an alleged abuser from calling the victim or requiring them to remain a certain distance away from her or even to move out of a shared residence. As a result, the victim can be subject to harassment in the best case and retaliation in the worst.


According to emailed comments from Nadia Aït Zai, a feminist activist and founder of the Center for Information and Documentation on the Rights of Children and Women (CIDDEF), “There is indeed a law now on domestic violence, but this is not enough. We have been asking for protection mechanisms, protective orders, as well as a special counter dedicated to the victims from the moment they arrive at the police station until their departure, and even the possibility to place them [in a shelter] immediately if need be.”


Fourth, the penal code recognizes “crime of passion,” and Article 279 provides that a person who kills or injures their spouse benefits from mitigating circumstances if their spouse was caught in the act of adultery.


Finally, while women can divorce their husbands if they are violent toward them, marital rape is not recognized. The law on domestic violence does not mention it, even though the figures are alarming. A national survey published in 2005 reported that 10.9% of Algerian women interviewed said they had been subjected to forced sexual intercourse by their intimate partners. This number went up to 14% in a 2013 study conducted by the Balsam network, a national network of listening centers for women victims of violence.


These legal shortcomings should be addressed urgently by the Parliament through further legislation.



Give me shelter


Institutional mechanisms like the Ministry for National Solidarity, Family, and the Status of Women and the National Council for the Family and Women are examples that illustrate the state’s commitment to fulfilling its due diligence obligations in the areas of gender equality and non-discrimination. Under the ministry’s coordination, in 2007 Algeria launched the National Strategy on Combating Violence Against Women. The strategy called for creating special units to help survivors of violence find longer-term shelters — without covering the actual establishment of these shelters. At present, there are two national state-run shelters (Bousmail and Mostaganem) and five temporary accommodation centers (Algiers, Constantine, Oran, Skikda, and Ouargla).


As there is no budget explicitly devoted to dealing with gender-based violence, the viability and accessibility of shelters and accommodation centers for women victims of violence remain a major challenge. This seems to be an issue for the broader MENA region as well, as the total number of shelters in the Arab states does not exceed 50. In Algeria, this translates into limited and inadequate services such as legal aid, health assistance, psycho-social support, and above all shelters. These services are nearly all provided by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), most of which receive no state support.


Shelters and accommodation centers lack resources, funds, and space. For instance, in 2017, several centers had to turn women away due to lack of space. Many women have also been turned away because they did not meet the criteria of shelters or accommodation centers or because there were restrictions on under-age children who accompanied them. Moreover, women victims of emotional abuse are not accepted as these institutions recognize only certain forms of violence.


In addition, many shelters and centers lack employees and have to rely heavily on volunteers due to their limited funds. There are few professionals in these shelters and the lack of a code of conduct on how to interact and work with survivors makes the volunteers’ job harder. However, these centers do have reintegration officers to support women after their stay for up to two years, which is critical for survivors.


Half of the centers in Algeria include reconciliation services, calling into question the principles of women’s safety, security, and confidentiality. Reconciliation can be extremely dangerous and put women at significant risk. The reconciliation approach does not consider the imbalance of power between the survivor and the perpetrator, or the familial and social pressure on women to safeguard the family at any cost.



Patriarchy and the pandemic


Femicide is a global issue that cuts across borders, cultures, religions, classes, and ages. However, in the “belt of classic patriarchy” of which the MENA region is part, rates of sexual and gender-based violence are continuing to rise, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Algeria is no exception in this regard. Data from the DGSN shows an increase in physical violence (71%) and an upsurge in femicides. In the first two months of 2020, 6 women were killed by their husbands — and a further 19 from March to October.


While the Algerian state, like many others in the region, debates human security and the protection of the most vulnerable, it is this very same state that put women and children at risk. The state is implicated in women’s oppression and their reduction to objects of masculine social control. Through this ideological construct, structural and direct violence against women is justified. The gendering of the private sphere is what makes home a realm outside of the state’s influence and under the regulation of the man. The latter is granted control over the defense of the house’s sanctity and the women’s body. As long as this patriarchal view prevails within Algeria’s state and society, it will cast shame and stigma on women victims of violence, Algerian women will continue to be killed, and their perpetrators praised.


Dr. Dalia Ghanem is a resident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, where her work examines political and extremist violence, radicalization, Islamism, and jihadism with an emphasis on Algeria. The opinions expressed in this piece are her own.



Further reading about women’s rights on HRWF website 


Photo credits: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty Images

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