Nirj Deva MEP: "deeds, not words" required over Pakistan honour killing
In response to sustained efforts within the European Parliament led by President of the International Committee on Human Dignity Nirj Deva MEP, the European Commission has finally set out its policy towards the so-called 'honour' killings that are becoming increasingly common not only throughout Islamic nations, but also within EU member states, reports Dignitatis Humanae Institute.
Following the horrific death of 15-year-old Pakistani girl Anusha Zafar, murdered by her own parents in a cold-blooded acid attack for 'looking at a boy', Nirj Deva MEP, who serves as Vice-President of the European Parliament's International Development Committee, requested from the European Commission an assessment of the EU's response.
In her response on behalf of the Commission, High Representative/Vice-President Ashton acknowledged that while a worldwide phenomenon, "943 women died in so-called honour killings in Pakistan last year." Baroness Ashton noted that while the Pakistani government, under encouragement from the EU, has begun some preliminary legislative steps to deter these killings, "the actual implementation of these new laws will need to be ensured."
In her written response to the MEP, Baroness Ashton also set out the measures the EU has in place:
"Respect for human rights is a core value of the EU, internally and in relations with all third countries. It engages with Pakistan regularly on these issues. Such dialogue also concerns the implementation of international human rights conventions to which the EU and Pakistan are parties. Furthermore the EU will be funding capacity-building projects in federal and provincial institutions to improve awareness and protection of human rights, access to justice for vulnerable groups and strengthen civil society organizations."
Speaking from his office in Brussels, Nirj Deva told the Dignitatis Humane Institute:
"The Commission's response seeks to affirm an unwavering commitment to human rights but ultimately we will all be judged by our deeds, not words. If the Nobel peace prize recently awarded to the European Union is to truly stand for anything, then we must be seen to vigorously pursue such an abhorrent and violent offence against human dignity. As an institution that claims human rights as its most core value, the EU must accept the responsibility to defend the most vulnerable across the world. This means speaking up and taking a stand, not when it is merely politically appropriate, but relentlessly and consistently in all our considerable dealings with Pakistan."