Immigrant communities in Canada, particularly South Asians, must “air our dirty laundry” in order to combat violence against women, says Ms. Aruna Papp, who specializes in domestic violence. She recently released a report for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (a privately funded conservative think tank) entitled “Culturally Driven Violence against Women”.
There have been 12 honour killings in Canada since 2002, said Ms. Papp, who defines them as “murders carried out in order to cleanse the family name and restore the family honour.” Rona Ambrose, Canadian Minister for the Status of Women, spoke at the release, condemning honour killings and calling on women’s groups and local communities to work together with the government to combat the “heinous abuses of power.” When asked if the government might create a special definition or enhanced sentencing in the Criminal Code around honour killings, Ms. Ambrose said that laws are already in place to address violence and murder. Still, she said, “it’s something that we’re looking at.”
Jeffrey Reitz, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in immigration issues, called this “patronizing,” saying that honour killings aren’t a problem of “educating immigrants,” but rather, a problem of crime and violence in general.