A 19-year-old girl was murdered overnight in a refugee camp in Gaza City by her brother and father in an apparent “honour killing,” a Palestinian rights groups said on Wednesday.
In a statement, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said that the body of the girl, identified only by the initials “WMQ,” arrived at the city’s Shifa hospital at approximately 2:00 am (2300 GMT on Tuesday).
The group said the girl was killed in Beach Camp in western Gaza City.
“Medical sources in the hospital’s forensic medicine department said the citizen was killed by strangulation,” PCHR said.
“Palestinian police spokesman Major Ayman Batniji told PCHR that police opened an investigation immediately and arrested her father and her brother who both confessed to committing the crime in the context of ‘family honour’,” it said.
“PCHR strongly condemns this crime and calls for an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the murder of this citizen and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice,” the statement added.
So-called honour killings, in which a family member murders a relative who is perceived to have ruined the family’s reputation, occur periodically in the Palestinian territories.
The group said a similar killing had taken place in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza earlier this year, adding that it wanted to see tougher measures taken against the perpetrators of such crimes.
Last year, following the murder of a woman in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas pledged to amend a decades-old law under which those citing “honour” as a defence could expect to receive a jail sentence of no more than six months.
But women’s rights groups said the amendment, which has not yet been implemented, would do little to change the situation on the ground because a judge could still decide that “honour” was involved and hand down a lenient sentence.
Statistics compiled by campaigners show that 29 women in the West Bank were murdered under such circumstances between 2007 and 2010. In the same period, nine more women took their own lives for fear of family reprisals.