Blood Enough (Khoon-bas) in Iran

  • 20150227125132_hannahstarkeyportrait2014originalfile History is Now
    At London’s Southbank Centre, the exhibition History is Now: 7 Artists Take on B…

Zanan TV

22 October 2012

This film had been received by a local Kurd human rights activist in 2006. Documented scenes of marriage of an under-aged girl to an old man in Kurdistan of Iran resemble Blood Enough (Khoon-bas) custom in the area.

Local people declared that the girl’s family dedicated her unconditionally to the old man as his bride, in order to settle the dispute between their tribe and the old man’s tribe. According to the locals the girl committed suicide few days after.

Although there are no clear verifications on the girl’s identity or if this wedding was a Khoon-bas wedding or not; the evident age gap between bride and the bridegroom, marriage between two different villages and sadness of the bride and her family make it more probable.
News Update:

This film has been aired for the first time in August 2012 by Zanan TV in order to protest against registration of Khoon-bas as a custom by Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation. Streaming this film had been simultaneous to Iranian Women’s Movement’s statement against enough-blood. On the first day the film had around 20,000 viewers.

A week after Women’s Movement’s statement and streaming this video, registration procedure of Khoon-bas practice as a national custom by Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation has been suspended until further investigations on the custom.

What is Blood Enough (Khoon-bas)?

Khoon-bas is an old practice in some rural parts of Iran.  In case of a dispute between two tribes or families followed by death of one or more people, wise-men arrange a marriage between a girl from the murderer’s close relatives with a murdered family member in order to stop the bloodshed.

This custom is still being practiced reportedly in some regions of Iran with support of the tribes.

These girls are forced to marry relatives of the murdered without their consent instead of the blood money in order to stop the bloodshed. They either never accept their marriage or accept it under their families’ pressure to release their murderer relative from prison. This custom is evidently contrary to their freewill and against their human rights.

Girls, who become Khoon-bas brides, will have fewer rights in comparison to other women within the family.

Islamic Republic of Iran’s attempt for registering Khoon-bas vs. Women’s Movement’s reaction:

Islamic Republic had chosen to remain silent regarding to the Khoon-bas custom, but since February 2010 there were lobbying for registration of the custom in national customs list in 4 provinces of Iran.

In July 2012 authorities of Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation branch in one of the provinces (Kohkelouyeh va Boir Ahmad) declared that the file for registering the custom is ready. After streaming the current video by Zanan TV and people’s pressure, this organisation declared there are not enough reasons to register the custom therefore registration procedure will be delayed.

The plan for registering enough-blood has been vastly opposed by women’s rights activists. They raised awareness about such an issue through distribution of their statements and making pages and spread the word in social networks such as Facebook.

In the statement signed by more than 300 Women’s Rights activists published in September 2012 it has been mentioned that:

The woman who gets married as Khoon-bas “will face a slavery prospect of life” and there have been “numerous cases of suicide, self-immolation, depression and escaping amongst them.”

In the end statement’s signatories asked the authorities to “prevent from registration of this inhumane tradition against women and not only to gather necessary information and statistics on its distribution and impacts but also to prosecute law-breakers and wrongdoers and to give the rights to lawsuit and divorce to the victim women of Khoon-bas custom.”