Violence against woman, «honor crimes» and harmful cultural and religious practices: international human rights standards adopted by the United Nations

María Nieves Saldaña


Over the last twenty years, the United Nations have addressed so-called «honor crimes» as a specific form of violence against woman, based on harmful practices that are the result of cultural and religious traditions rooted, that discriminate against women and girls and violate their fundamental and human rights, so that the United Nations has defined a set of international human rights standards that must guide the actions of States to prevent, combat and eradicate «honor crimes».


United Nations; Human rights; Violence against woman; Harmful cultural and religious practices; Honor crimes


Amnesty International. Reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women –Weakening the protection of women from violence in the Middle East and North Africa region. 2004 [Publicación en línea],>, consultado el 12-05-2016.

An-Na ‘im, Abdullahi A. «State Responsibility Under International Human Rights Law to Change Religious and Customary Laws». Human Rights of Women: National and International Perspectives. Ed. Rebecca J. Cook. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994, 167-188.

Chesler, Phyllis. «Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings». Middle East Quarterly 17.2 (2010): 3-11.

Clark, Belinda. «The Vienna Convention Reservations Regimen and the Convention on Discrimination against Women». The American Journal of International Law 85.2 (1991): 281-321.

Cook, Rebbeca J. «Reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women». Virginia Journal of International Law 30 (1990): 643-709.

Freeman, Marsha A., Beate Rudolf y Christine Chinkin. The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: A Commentary. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Greiff, Shaina. «No justice in Justifications: Violence against Women in the Name of Culture, Religion, and Tradition». The Global Campaing to Stop Killing and Stoning Women. 2010 <>, consultado el 12-05-2016.

Holtmaat, Rikki y Jonneke Naber. Women’s Human Rights and Culture; from Deadlock to Dialogue. Portland: Intersentia, 2011.

Kusha, Hamid R. y Nawal H. Ammar. «Stoning Women in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Is it Holy Law or Gender Violence». Arts and Social Sciences Journal 5.1 (2014): 1-9 consultado el 22-04-2016.

Kogacioglu, Dicle. «The Tradition effect: Framing honor crimes in Turkey», Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 15. 2 (2004): 119-151.

Koukoulis-Spiliotopoulos, Sophia. «The limits of Cultural Traditions», Annuaire International des Droits de l’Homme 3 (2008): 411-433.

Nyamu, Celestine I. «How Should Human Rights and Development Respond to Cultural Legitimization of Gender Hierarchy in Developing Countries?» Harvard International Law Journal 41 (2000): 381-418.

Raday, Frances. «Culture, Religion and Gender». International Journal of Constitutional Law 1. 4 (2003): 663-715.

Raday, Frances. «Culture, Religion and CEDAW’s art 5(a)». The Circle of Empowerment: 25 Years of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Eds. B. Schöpp-Schilling, Hanna Beate, Cees Flinterman. New York: The Feminist Press, 2007, 67-85.

Terman, Rochelle L. «To Specify or Single Out: Should We Use the Term “Honor Killing”?». Muslim World Journal of Human Rights 7.1 (2010): 1-41.

United Nations. Supplement to the Handbook for Legislation on Violence against Women. «Harmful practices» against women. New York: Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for the Advancement of Women, 2011 <>, consultado el 22-04-2016.

United Nations. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Recommendations for action against gender-related killing of women and girls. New York: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2015 <>, consultado el 22-04-2016.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The State of World Population 2000. Lives Together, Worlds Apart: Men and Women in a time of Change. New York: United Nations Population Fund, 2000 <>, consultado el 22-04-2016.

United Nations. Report of the expert group meeting on good practices in legislation on violence against women. United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Viena, 2008 <>, consultado el 22-04-2016.

Velázquez Borges, Sudis María. «Las reservas a la Convención sobre la eliminación de todas las formas de discriminación contra la mujer». Revista Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Políticas 41. 115 (2011): 427-449.

Welchman, Lynn y Sara Hossain. «Honour»: Crimes, paradigms, and violence against women. London: Zed Books, 2005.

Winter, Bronwyn, Denise Thompson y Sheila Jeffreys. «The UN Approach to Harmful Traditional Practices». International Feminist Journal Politics 4.1 (2002): 72-94.

Wyttenbach, Judith. «Violence against Women, Culture/Religious Tradition and the International Standard of Due Diligence», Due Diligence and its Application to Protect Women from Violence. Ed. Carin Benninger-Budel. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008, 225-239.

Zechenter, Elizabeth M. «In the Name of Culture: Cultural Relativism and the Abuse of the Individual». Journal of Anthropological Research 53.3 (1997): 319-347.


Copyright (c) 2016 María Nieves Saldaña

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.