Banaz A Love Story (Film)

Banaz Mahmod was murdered by her own family, in an honour killing. This film tells Banaz’s story, in her own words, for the first time – and tells the story of the extraordinary police team who refused to give up, and finally brought her killers to justice.

Emmy Award 2013 –  Best International Current Affairs Film.
Peabody Award Winner 2013
British Royal Television Society Awards 2013 – Best Documentary, Current Affairs (nomination)
This is a documentary film chronicling an act of overwhelming horror – the honour killing of Banaz Mahmod, a young British woman in suburban London in 2006, killed and “disappeared” by her own family, with the agreement and help of a large section of the Kurdish community, because she tried to choose a life for herself.
It was a case which shocked the entire world and received enormous international press coverage; but until now, the voice of Banaz herself has never been heard.
As the result of four painstaking years gaining the trust and co-operation of the extraordinary police officers who solved the case, the film contains heart-breaking  footage of Banaz herself, detailing the horrors she was facing and accurately predicting her own brutal murder. The footage, which has never before been seen and has been obtained by the filmmakers for the first time, displays the warmth, beauty and courage of Banaz.
Despite the horror, what emerges is a story of love…
Of Banaz, an ordinary young British teenager, whose relationship with Rahmat put her life in danger. It was her video messages from beyond the grave which convicted her father and uncle of the murder she feared would happen.
Of Bekhal, a young woman of incredible spirit and bravery, whose love for her murdered sister gave her the strength to testify against her own family and community – bringing justice to Banaz but consigning her to a life forever lived in hiding.
Of Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode, the senior Scotland Yard detective, who says she came to love Banaz beyond the grave. It was Caroline’s dedication and passion which drove her on, finding her body against all the odds, laying her to rest, and relentlessly pursuing her killers, even to Iraq.
And Deeyah, international music producer and activist turned filmmaker, who has herself been subject to honour related abuse and threat. It was Deeyah’s love for the story, for Banaz, for Bekhal and for Caroline, and for raising awareness for the issue of honour killing, which has driven her to spend four years making this harrowing and deeply emotional film, running out of funding long ago, but forming an intimate bond with all the key players, which plays out on screen in scenes of astonishingly confessional testimony.
Banaz is a symbol of horror and hope in the fight to overcome oppression and outdated, abominable cultural practices, practices which claim the lives of thousands of other women like Banaz every year.
But above all, the film is an act of remembrance, an act of recovery of Banaz, one human being. After her family tried so brutally to erase her from the face of the earth, for the first time, Banaz’s voice is finally being heard.

In the making of this film, Deeyah has worked with a wide range of experts, activists and NGOs specialising in the field of honour-based violence, some of whom have been interviewed for the film. This collaborative process has led to a shared recognition of the urgent need for online educational resources and campaigning networks dedicated to this vital issue.
As a result, the making of Banaz: A Love Story, has led to Deeyah and her partners founding two initiatives:
HBVA (Honour Based Violence Awareness Network), an international digital resource centre working to advance awareness through research, documentation, information and training for professionals who may encounter women, girls and men at risk, building partnerships with experts, activists, and NGOs from around the world.
Memini, an online memorial to victims of honour killing. Memini exists to acknowledge the lives and deaths of thousands who are killed in the ongoing massacre of “honour” killing. We seek to create a community of remembrance to end the silence, honour the dead and keep their memories alive, collecting and preserving the stories of women like Banaz, as well as celebrating their strength and courage.

Lean In: Own the Room

Involve your audience, "read" the room, and harness the power of your unique voice to get your message across By Bill Hoogterp, founder and creator of Own the Room® public speaking and communication training system. Women are powerful speakers because of their innate emotional intelligence and natural ability to connect with their audience, but their voices are often muffled by doubt, deferring, and delay. Learn how to be heard--to project, connect, interrupt and bring more of your contribution to every meeting, panel or conference--whether you are the speaker or a participant.

Aunt Gloria - Women's Equality Day

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Femicide in Honduras

Warning: the video report contains distressing images
Attached is a 10-minute short film on femicide- the intentional killing of women and girls in Honduras.
The recent killing of Miss Honduras, Maria Jose Alvaro has sparked national outrage over her murder even though femicide has been a long-standing issue in Latin America with Honduras placing seventh on the world map.

Slave Trade: What You Don't Know

TEDEd: View full lesson:

Slavery has occurred in many forms throughout the world, but the Atlantic slave trade -- which forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas -- stands out for both its global scale and its lasting legacy. Anthony Hazard discusses the historical, economic and personal impact of this massive historical injustice.

International Womens Day

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Internationales Frauenfilmfestival Dortmund | Köln: A Discussion on women in the film business and how networks support their activities on the occasion of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.

Making Waves (Short Film)

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Deeyah Khan: Solidarity doesn't cost anything

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Today we celebrate the International Day of the Girl, a day designated by United Nations General Assembly as a way of recognizing conditions facing girls around the world, in order to empower and educate communities about the importance of investing in girls. In developing societies, girls have less access to education, clean water, food, security and face major health risks. They are less valued and prioritized by their own families and communities. It is a patriarchal system that leaves girls subjugated and far more susceptible to violence. The mentality from this system reverberates in different parts of the world, as some of the cultural practices are reiterated in fully developed societies.

In the western world, there is a growing epidemic of honor violence. Honor violence is often carried out as way of restoring honor, when an individual brings shame upon the family or community. It is primarily gender-biased, a vengeful act sought out when a woman or girl is perceived as unchaste and disobedient. 

This sort of violence has to stop! This International Day of the Girl, we ask you to think about ways you can help.

In honor of this day and the growing epidemic of honor violence, check out feature article , “Honor Construed”.

Join the conversation on Twitter in honor of  October 11th- International Day of Girl / and #DayoftheGirl

All girls deserve a chance to have a future!


Video that discloses some awful truths regarding the status of women around the world

S. Africa Women's Day March

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Street Harassment on Sidewalks & Metro

Vocativ: Jen Corey was crowned Miss DC in 2009 and made it to the top 10 of the Miss America Pageant in 2010. A tall and striking blonde, Jen has battled with overzealous men approaching her since she was a teenager. An incident at a D.C. bar prompted her to use her platform as a beauty queen to speak out against street harassment, a topic that is often dismissed as just ‘boys being boys.’ But Jen and other women argue that there is something more sinister that lies beneath the motivation to aggressively cat-call or approach women in public places: “Street harassment is almost never about sex. It's about power. Which is the same way we view rape. So saying street harassment is not a big deal is opening up the doorway for men to view women as an object to be obtained.” Jen herself was physically violated on the D.C. metro train in 2013 while coming home from work one night. This is her first interview about the incident. You don’t have to be a beauty queen to experience street harassment, a fact that we will show through a montage of stories with a variety of women. Vocativ will also give viewers a firsthand look at the experience of street harassment by strapping hidden cameras onto one of our female interviewees as she walks down a busy New York City street. In addition to Jen Corey, Vocativ interviewed Jennifer Pozner, Executive Director for Women in Media & News, and several members of Hollaback. To report street harassment, visit

South Africa:Women's Month Begins

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No Body Shame Campaign: Whitney Way

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Honor Diaries Approbations

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Community Partners:Gene Siskel Film Center, Adler Planetarium, Center on Halsted, Heartland Alliance, Kindling Group, Pasfarda Arts & Culture Exchange, Chicago Astronomical Society & Women For Action


The Chicago Human Rights Watch Film Festival and its community partners, are pleased to present the Chicago premiere of SEPIDEH on May 20, an inspirational documentary about a teenage girl who is defying norms in Iran to try and become an astronaut. Audience Q&A with Faraz Sanei, HRW Iran researcher will follow the screening. Get your tickets today!

Community Partners: Adler Planetarium, Pasfarda Arts & Culture Exchange, Chicago Astronomical Society & Women For Action

Honor Diaries Screening in Chicago-Testimonials

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The Weakest Home: Spoke Word

One of the biggest issues facing families today is domestic violence. Whether it be against the wife, husband or children - we can all play a part in bringing an end to this. The family is the backbone of the society and if we want to keep it firm, we must learn to love, respect and protect one another. 

Allah (God) teaches us in the Quran that "The example of those who take allies other than Allah is like that of the spider who takes a home. And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider, if they only knew.(29:41). If we look further into this example we will notice that the spiders home is not weak merely because of the web but also due to the habitual structure of many different types of spider families, which are filled with murder and abuse. A feeble home is indeed one which is filled with much violence. Such are the intriguing parables God sets forth in the Quran to teach those who ponder.

Honor Diaries- Trailer

For the first time on film, an international group of women’s rights champions break the silence on honor violence. More than a movie, Honor Diaries is a movement meant to inspire viewers to break down the barrier of political correctness and speak the truth: that culture is no excuse for abuse.
Special Chicago Film Screening HONOR DIARIES (discussion with women from film and local leaders following)
View more>

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This is a special presentation being featured at ¡AY CHIWOWA! on April 16th, 2014 for a Meet and Greet with founding and prospective members for the developing Chicago Chapter of the U.S. National Committee for UN Women

Invisible Warriors:TRAILER

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African American women - 83-105 years young - reminisce about their challenges and triumphs during World War II/
[Take a look at Women For Action's interview with the film director]

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[Read more about this campaign]

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Four women were asked to participate in a Photoshop experiment. Their reactions to the results will surprise you.


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