Speaking in New York Tuesday, Rashida Manjoo -- who investigates violence against women and reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council -- referred to the recent killings of Fareeda Afridi, a human rights defender in Pakistan, and Hanifa Safi, a provincial head of the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Afghanistan, and the public execution in Afghanistan of a woman accused of adultery.
"The failure of states to guarantee women's right to a life free from violence allows for a continuum of violence which can end in their death," Manjoo said, U.N. News reported on its Web site. "Whether labeled murder, homicide, femicide, feminicide, or 'honor' killings, these manifestations of violence are culturally and socially embedded, and continue to be accepted, tolerated or justified -- with impunity as the norm."
The Pakistani and Afghan governments must carry out prompt and impartial investigations into the killings and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice, she said.
"The killing of women is indeed a state crime when tolerated by public institutions and officials -- when they are unable to prevent, protect and guarantee the lives of women, who have consequently experienced multiple forms of discrimination and violence throughout their lifetime," Manjoo said, adding it is crucial to acknowledge such incidents are not isolated but are rather "the extreme manifestation of pre-existing forms of violence experienced by women everywhere."
Manjoo's recommendations include ensuring effective investigation, prosecution and sanctions; guaranteed access to adequate and effective judicial remedies and reparations to victims and their relatives.