UAE is moving to crack down on 'honor killings'
The United Arab Emirates said on Saturday it was canceling lenient penalties for so-called “honor killings” and amending inheritance laws for residents as part of a reform of personal and family laws in the Middle East trade hub.
Human rights groups say thousands of women and girls are killed across the Middle East and South Asia each year by family members angered at perceived damage to their “honor.”
This could include eloping, fraternizing with men or any transgression of conservative values regarding women.
A statement from the UAE federal government carried by the official news agency WAM said it had canceled legal clauses that allowed judges to issue merciful sentences in “honor” crimes.
The UAE government said those crimes will now be treated by courts as normal murder cases.
Residents of the Gulf Arab state will also have the right to choose inheritance laws to be used in each case, instead of the UAE legislation based on sharia (Islamic religious law).
Inheritance and divorce settlements are governed by sharia-inspired law in the UAE, and other Gulf Arab countries, though expatriates comprise the majority of the population, including in Dubai emirate, the country’s financial and commercial center.