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Honour killings have no place in Canada: Minister

Toronto, July 13: After recent incidents of alleged honour killings in the Indian and Pakistani communities here, the Canadian minister for women affairs Monday warned that these gruesome acts have no place this country.

Visiting the Punjabi Community Health Services in Mississauga on the outskirts of Toronto, Rona Ambrose, who is the Canadian minister for the status of women, warned the South Asian community that crimes like "honour killings" will not tolerated in Canadian society.

The warning comes after a 48-year-old Punjabi man Kamikar Singh Dhillon was jailed for life here last month in the suspected honour killing of his daughter-in-law Amandeep Kaur Dhillon for allegedly having an affair with another man.

The young woman, who came to Canada from Isru village near Ludhiana after her marriage to Dhillon's son in 2005, was stabbed multiple times with a knife in the family-run grocery store near Toronto airport Jan 1, 2009.

A Pakistani father, along with his son, here too faces life behind bars for honour killing of his young girl two years ago for her refusal to wear hijab. Sixteen-year-old Aqsa Parvez was strangulated by her father Muhammad Parvez, 57, in the family home in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga in December 2007.

Sending a stern message to the South Asian community, the minister said, "Let me be explicit: This type of violence, the most extreme of which is often known as 'honour killing,' has no place in Canadian society. Killing or mutilating anyone, least of all a family member, is utterly unacceptable under all circumstances, and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Honour killings, Ambrose added, are "an extreme and brutal violation of the values we hold dear, and it is shameful that there are those who encourage or tolerate them."

She said "being a member of Canadian society comes with the responsibility of upholding Canadian laws and values... there is a small minority in some communities who use violence against women as a method of avenging their so-called honour."

Violence against women is rampant in the south Asian community in Canada and there have been at least four clear cases of honour killings of young Punjabi girls in the past few years.




Rona Ambrose