Kurdish Women Action Against Honour Killing (KWAHK) is a network of Kurdish and non-Kurdish
activists, lawyers and academic researchers.
It was established in March 2000 in London. Its formation coincided with the first international
Women’s Day in the third millennium. It started with an important gathering of the Kurdish community
in London; more than 500 women and men came together to celebrate the launch of this organization,
with its slogan
“No Honour in Murder”.
Kurdish Womens Action Against Honour Killings (KWAHK)
No Honour in Murder
What is KWAHK?
Kurdish Women Action Against Honour Killing (KWAHK) is a network of Kurdish and non-Kurdish activists, lawyers and academic researchers.
It was established in March 2000 in London. Its formation coincided with the first international Women’s Day in the third millennium.
It started with an important gathering of the Kurdish community in London; more than 500 women and men came together to celebrate the
launch of this organization, with its slogan “No Honour in Murder”.
KWAHK aims to raise national and international awareness about the issue of violence against women in the Kurdish communities, in particular
honour killing, both in Kurdistan and in the Diaspora. It attempts to establish dialogue with human rights organisations, international NGOs,
the United Nations and the Western governments who contribute to gender based violence by supporting regimes and parties who are violating
women’s human rights. Also, it is committed to identifying the strategies and legal procedures most appropriate to fighting against different
forms of violence against women. KWAHK has strong links with women in different parts of Kurdistan.
Since its creation, KWAHK has registered several significant achievements:
On March 5th, 2000, the day when the campaign was launched, KWAHK opened a public debate about honour crimes with members of the Kurdish
community in Britain. This event was highly significant in that it brought together over 500 members of the Kurdish community, of all
ages and political affiliation, to confront honour crimes. The approach used by the organisers was particularly innovative, for in
addition to the use of speeches and analytical papers, the community was called upon to commemorate, through a slide show and poetry
readings, a group of women who were killed in Iraqi Kurdistan by their male relatives.
On June 18th, 2000, KWAHK initiated a conference to discuss the political dimension of honour killings with the European representatives
of the two Kurdish administrations in Iraqi Kurdistan, together with academics and human rights activists.
In late October 2000, KWAHK, on the invitation of the World March of Women, addressed the United Nations and presented an account of the
situation of women in Kurdistan and their demands.
In November 2000, KWAHK was honoured for its activities by a group of prominent lawyers in the UK, who conferred a prestigious prize upon
its key actor and co-ordinator Nazand Begikhani.
In April 2001, KWAHK was invited to and participated in discussions with officials at the UK Government’s Department for International
Development (DFID) on the subject of “Violence against women in Iraqi Kurdistan”.
On Febraury 22nd, 2002, KWAHK organised, together with the International Kurdish Women Studies Network and the Kurdish Institute of
Paris, an international conference in the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris.
Furthermore, since its inception, the group has gained a voice in the mainstream media, including national television and radio,
in Kurdistan and a number of European countries, to profile the situation faced by Kurdish women.
Finally, KWAHK has seized the opportunities offered by the internet to release voices, showcase experiences, retain memories and
promote the campaign.