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Honour-based violence in Finland

Honour-based violence can be prevented

The aim of the Finnish League of Human Rights is to prevent honour conflicts and human rights violations in Finland.

We support communities and officials in preventing honour-based violance.

We will do our best to make it possible that those suffering honour-based violence will have access to services. We follow up on judiciary and societal processes from the viewpoint of honour-based violence and advocate for a full implementation of the Istanbul Convention.

We work in partnership with various communities. We also co-ordinate a network working against honour-related violence which we founded in 2014.

Lähikuva harmaaseen ja mustaan asuun pukeutuneesta henkilöstä, joka selaa sylissään olevaa kirjaa. Henkilön kasvoja ei näy.

The Honour-Related Violence Report

The Finnish League for Human Rights published an extensive report on honour-related violence and intervention in Finland on 2016. The report describes the various forms and characteristics of honour-based violence and gives advice to officials on how to recognise and intervene in honour-based violence.

A link to the summary of the study report (in English): Violence and conceptions of honour – summary of the study report on honour-based violence and measures for intervention in Finland (pdf)

Many communities experience honour-related violence

Conflicts arising from honour are part of very old traditions. Communities that base the honour of the family on its members’ conduct, especially on the chastity of girls and women, experience honour-based conflicts. Such a conflict arises when a member of a family is suspected of having broken the chastity values of a community.

The honour of a family is defined through the conduct of its female members and any departure from accepted behaviour brings shame to the whole family. Families attempt to prevent this through the control of behaviour. If a girl or a woman is seen to have brought shame to the family she may be punished. The punishment is expected to restore the family’s honour.

Victims are usually girls and women

The victims of honour-related violence are mostly girls and women but sometimes also boys and men. Boys may be forced to control the actions of their sisters and in extreme cases to kill them. Homosexual men may be subject to the same violence that is enforced against women.

Honour-based violence is not restricted to particular countries, ethnic groups or religions. It happens in many communities around the world. Reasons for the conflict may include:

  • Courting or befriending a person not approved of by the family
  • Divorce
  • Refusal to marry
  • Indecent clothing or becoming too ‘Western’
  • Rumours of indecent behaviour

Forms of honour-based violence include:

  • Restriction of one’s movements, circle of friends or clothing
  • Mental pressure and threats
  • Deprivation of personal liberty
  • Battery and rape
  • Murder

Honour-related conflicts in Finland

In Finland, honour-related violence is mainly experienced in some immigrant families. There are however individual differences between communities and families – some want to uphold harmful traditions while others try to do away with them. It is therefore impossible to deduce how any one person may consider honour-related thinking based solely on their ethnic or religious background.

There are no exact statistics on the prevalence of honour-based violence in Finland as the figures are not compiled and no extensive research has been conducted.



Johanna Latvala

Asiantuntija, sukupuolistuneen väkivallan vastainen työ / Adviser, gender-based violence

+358 44 7061447 johanna.latvala@ihmisoikeusliitto.fi

Solomie Teshome

Asiantuntija, sukupuolistuneen väkivallan vastainen työ / Adviser, gender-based violence

+358 44 742 0411 solomie.teshome@ihmisoikeusliitto.fi

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