IKWRO campaigns for better laws and policies, informed by the experiences of the women and girls we represent, to protect rights, tackle abuse, and safeguard and improve lives. The impacts of IKWRO’s campaign successes are far reaching; nationally and globally.

IKWRO campaigns to end all forms of “honour” based abuse and harmful practices including; forced marriage and child marriage, marital captivity, female genital mutilation, virginity testing, hymenoplasty, conversion therapy and corrective rape.

As an organisation founded and run by Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) women, by speaking out boldly against these taboo topics, we have broken the silence. We empower crucial conversations and actions to reject violence against women and girls within the MENA diaspora and beyond.

We campaign for systemic improvements in responses to “honour” based abuse and domestic abuse and for support for victims/ survivors, from all statutory bodies, including; schools and all education providers, police, social services, healthcare providers and housing services. IKWRO tackles cultural relativism, racism and discrimination including from government policies, like ‘no recourse to public funds’ and from sharia law.

IKWRO is regularly called upon to share our expertise nationally and internationally, with government, academics, media and professionals and we sit on a number of expert advisory panels. IKWRO are Co-chairs of Girls Not Brides UK.

Read about our focus campaigns:

Safeguard Futures Ban Child Marriage

Virginity Does Not Define Me


IKWRO has led the way in introducing understanding of “honour” based abuse to the UK. In 2002, IKWRO’s Remember Heshu campaign, ensured that the murder of Heshu Yunes, a British Kurdish teenager growing up in London, by her father, was understood as an “honour” killing, and raised much needed awareness of the crime, which until that time was barely known about.

IKWRO have changed the narrative around “honour” based abuse, making it known that these are crimes and that neither culture, nor religion must ever be used as a justification for violence; there is no justification for violence. This was the message of Diana Nammi, IKWRO’s Founder and Executive Director’s TEDxLondon talk ‘Culture Must Never Be Used As a Justification for Honour Violence’.

In 2006, IKWRO launched the Justice for Banaz campaign, in response to the “honour” killing of Banaz Mahmod, a British Kurdish woman, who was murdered after leaving her violent child marriage and falling in love, in a relationship of which her family disapproved. We helped secure the first ever extradition to the UK from Iraqi-Kurdistan, of two of the perpetrators, which sent a powerful message that there is no safe haven from these crimes. Significantly, at the sentencing hearing, we saw progress against cultural relativism when the judge acknowledged that culture should not be used as a mitigating factor to justify “honour” crimes.

IKWRO has raised public understanding of “honour” based abuse through extensive media coverage and the arts. We worked with closely the BBC on the BAFTA award-winning film Murdered by my Father about “honour” killing, on Catch Me Daddy which was screened at Cannes film festival and with ITV on Honour about the “honour” killing of Banaz Mahmod. We were leading contributors to ITV’s Britains Virginity Clinics Uncovered. We hold the True Honour Awards annually to commemorate those whose lives have been stolen by “honour” based abuse, to celebrate best practice responses by individuals and organisations and inspire others to act.

IKWRO’s Right to Choose campaign, established that everyone has the right to choose whether or not to marry, or whether to marry a particular person. IKWRO was instrumental in the recognition of forced marriage as a form of violence, and in changing the law to make forced marriage a crime in 2014. IKWRO has built upon this success with our Safeguard Futures Ban Child Marriage campaign, which we lead as Co-chairs of Girls Not Brides UK. Payzee Mahmod, IKWRO Campaigner’s TEDx Talk ‘A Survivor’s Plea to End Child Marriage’ calling for child marriage to be made a crime has been viewed more than one million times. In April 2022 we achieved a historic campaign win when the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill raised the minimum age for marriage to 18 (with no exceptions) and made child marriage a crime in England and Wales, including where the child marriage is due to take place outside of the country. Additionally, we are calling for marital captivity to be recognised as a form of forced marriage.

IKWRO’s Against FGM campaign has been critical in ensuring that the government, public bodies and general public recognise that female genital mutilation happens within some Middle Eastern and North African diaspora, and is addressed by services.

In April 2022 IKWRO’s Virginity Does Not Define Me campaign achieved groundbreaking success, changing the law to ban the harmful practices of virginity testing and hymenoplasty and securing government committment to funding an education programme to tackle these harms.

Education is fundamental to ending “honour” based abuse. IKWRO’s Right to Know campaign hosted the first ever ‘National Schools Conference on “Honour” Based Violence’ and we worked with the Institute of Education to ensure trainee teachers are equipped with knowledge to tackle “honour” based abuse. Our advocacy contributed to Relationships and Sex education becoming compulsory and we have promoted the inclusion of education about all forms of “honour” based abuse. We continue to campaign for schools, parents and guardians not to be able to opt children out from receiving this vital learning.

A key focus of IKWRO’s campaigning is to hold statutory bodies to account and to influence systemic change and the introduction of best practices. IKWRO’s groundbreaking research, which made front page news in The Times, revealed major failures, nationally, in police recording of “honour” based abuse. This led to dialogue with the HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary and to the first national review of policing of “honour” based abuse, for which IKWRO were key advisors. The review revealed that only three out of forty-three police forces were considered fit for purpose and IKWRO continues to campaign for the implementation of the recommendations.

Further groundbreaking research by IKWRO, published in The Guardian, has shone a spotlight on shocking failures by children’s social services, revealing that more than half of the responsible departments are failing to even record child marriage cases, which undermines their ability safeguard children at risk. IKWRO calls for a national review of social services handling of all forms of “honour” based abuse.

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