The Tragic Murder of Tiba al-Ali Sparks Global Outrage and Highlights the Issue of “Honour Killings”

The brutal killing of YouTuber Tiba al-Ali by her father has shocked the world and brought attention to the issue of “honour killings” in Iraq. Tiba, a young and popular YouTube star, was known for her fun-loving and vibrant personality. She started her channel after moving to Turkey from Iraq, where she spoke about her independence, her fiancé, and other aspects of her life. Sadly, her decision to visit her family in Iraq led to her untimely demise.

Tiba’s murder was not considered premeditated, and her father was sentenced to only six months in prison. This lenient sentence has sparked protests across Iraq, with people demanding changes to the country’s laws surrounding honour killings. The case has shed light on the treatment of women in a society where conservative attitudes still prevail.

Before her death, Tiba had amassed a following of over 20,000 subscribers on YouTube. She posted videos daily and cherished the freedom and new lifestyle that Turkey offered her. However, her father did not support her decision to move there or to marry her Syrian-born fiancé. It is believed that a family dispute erupted when Tiba returned to Iraq to visit her home.

Reports suggest that Tiba’s father, Tayyip Ali, strangled her to death in her sleep on January 31st. He later turned himself into the police. In April, he was sentenced to a short prison term. This light punishment has enraged women’s rights activists, both in Iraq and around the world, who argue that it fails to provide adequate protection against domestic violence for women and girls.

Iraq’s Penal Code permits the use of “honour” as a mitigating factor for crimes committed against family members. This allows for lenient punishments based on perceived provocation or “honourable motives.” Article 41 of the penal code even considers the “punishment of a wife by her husband” and the “disciplining of children under their authority” within certain limits as legal rights. Such provisions reflect deeply rooted misogyny and a desire to control women’s bodies and behavior.

The lack of sufficient protection against domestic violence and honour killings is a pressing issue. The United Nations estimates that 5,000 women and girls around the world are murdered by family members in honour killings every year. Tiba’s murder has ignited conversations about the need for stricter laws to safeguard women’s rights in Iraq and beyond.

Women’s rights activists and organizations, along with citizens, have taken to the streets of Iraq to demand change. They have called for amendments to Iraqi law and its harmonization with international conventions. There is also a push for the adoption of the draft Anti-Domestic Violence Law, which aims to explicitly protect family members from acts of violence, including homicides and severe physical harm.

The United Nations Mission in Iraq has condemned Tiba’s killing and urged the Iraqi government to support laws and policies that prevent violence against women and girls. They emphasize the importance of bringing perpetrators of such crimes to justice and ensuring the protection of women’s and girls’ rights.

Tiba’s tragic story has not only exposed the failures of outdated laws in Iraq but has also shone a light on the broader issue of gender-based violence worldwide. Many argue that it is crucial to address the deeply ingrained societal attitudes and norms that perpetuate violence against women and girls.

While the international community mourns Tiba’s loss, it is important to remember that her story is not an isolated incident. Countless other “honour killings” go unreported, making it imperative for societies to confront and eradicate this form of violence. Tiba’s death serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for change and the crucial role that laws and policies play in protecting the rights and lives of women and girls.