You can't arrest my Dad...
The conviction at the Old Bailey yesterday of a 70 year old woman and her son for the so-called ‘honour killing’ of her daughter-in-law is a horrific reminder that women are often most vulnerable to violence in their own homes and from their own families.
The jury in the case heard that the family decided to murder victim Surjit Kaur, a West London customs officer living in an unhappy arranged marriage, when she made it clear she wanted to end the marriage – the family thought this would bring shame on them.
The problems faced by individual women living in minority communities in liberal democratic countries like Britain is discussed by Anne Phillips in her “bite” on multiculturalism at brilliant website Philosophy Bites, which can also be downloaded as a podcast.
The situation of women and children, those who are not traditionally the leaders of their communities, must be addressed if we are to have a society where everyone’s human rights are truly respected and not made secondary to deferring to “culture”.
Another story that just shocked me this morning is the reported attempt by Heathrow airport owner BAA to get an injunction on potentially more than five million people who might want to attend the Camp for Climate Action in the middle of August. It’s been called the biggest injunction since the miners’ strike, and makes me wonder if the civil liberties road we’re heading down in the UK has given some lawyers the encouragement to believe such a thing might be granted.
You simply can’t tell five million people that they can’t peacefully protest, or just ‘be at Paddington station or on stretches of the M25’, it’s ludicrous. My bird-watching, church-going bearded Dad is a member of at least two of the organisations the injunction is trying to keep away, and I can’t really believe security and law and order would ever require him under lock and key. I’m definitely going on that protest now, whatever the outcome in court today.
Finally, something a bit lighter - look out for the first of Amnesty's Edinburgh Festival comedy vodcasts on Monday at amnesty.org.uk/scotland or youtube.com/humantv. Without wanting to give the game away too much, you'll be able to see Ed Byrne doing something funny on a tractor…
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.