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Sudan campaigners demand action over rise in ‘honour killings’

Concern is mounting in Sudan about a rise in so-called honour killings.

So far this year at least 11 young women have been killed by family members, more than double last year’s total – though the real number is thought to be much higher, campaigners say.

In some cases women have been killed for using a smartphone, with a relative suspecting they were sending messages to a boyfriend. Relationships before marriage are illegal in Sudan.

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The government’s efforts to deal with the issue are being hampered by the ongoing instability in the country, particularly since the military coup last year.

Sulaima Ishaq Al Khalifa, the director general of the government’s Combatting Violence Against Women unit, says fathers involved in the killings get light sentences because they are considered to be the breadwinners of their families.

She told the BBC Newsday programme that “honour killings” were not embedded within Sudan’s society, but there was suspicion that religious extremism was behind the recent surge.

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