GENEVA?Some 5,000 women are murdered in honor killings every year, the UN's top human rights official said Thursday, calling it an "extreme symptom of discrimination" against women.
"It has been estimated that as many as one in three women across the world has been beaten, raped or otherwise abused during the course of her lifetime," said Navi Pillay in a statement.
"And the most common source of such violence comes from within the family. Amongst the most extreme forms of abuse is what is known as 'honor killing'," added the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
She pointed out that the problem is exacerbated by the fact that in some countries, legal systems "exempt individuals guilty of honor killings from punishment."
"Honor killings are, however, not something that can be simply brushed aside as some bizarre and retrograde atrocity that happens somewhere else," she said, stressing that under international laws, there is a "clear state responsibility" to ensure that women are not discriminated against.
Examples of such killings have been recorded in Middle Eastern and South Asian countries, including Turkey, India and Pakistan.
India said February that it is considering new legislation to deal specifically with honor killings and provide stringent punishments to curb a rise in cases.
Most are killed by family members for daring to marry against their family's wishes, or engaging in an extra-marital affair, thereby bringing "dishonor" on their communities.