Cosmopolitan uses powerful image of girl suffocating in plastic to front Britain's Lost Women report in protest against honour killing

The coverline reads ‘Shafilea was suffocated by her parents in front of her siblings’

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The Independent Online

Cosmopolitan produced a powerful image of a girl suffocating inside a plastic cover for the launch of a new report on “honour” killings in the UK.

The coverline on the image uses the story of Shafilea Ahmed, the 17-year-old British Pakistani girl who refused an arranged marriage was murdered by her parents in after they believed she brought shame on the family. Her parents killed her with a plastic bag, and her younger brother and sisters witnessed her death.

The sentence “Shafilea was suffocated by her parents in front of her siblings”, sits across the blurred out picture of an unidentifiable girl’s face, encased in the publication’s plastic cover.

The cover image, created by Leo Burnett, was launched on Wednesday at a lobbying event at the Houses of Parliament, hosted by Cosmopolitan magazine and women’s group Karma Nirvana, in partnership with the Henry Jackson Society as part of the Britain’s Lost Women campaign.

A new memorial day has also been revealed for the victims of “honour” killings, and the first day will be held on 14 July every year, marking Shafilea’s birthday. The first day of remembrance will be held this year.

The new report, Honour Killings in the UK, has been launched to lobby for action around violence against women and to highlight the report’s findings that there is a severe lack of awareness of the issue among schools, while police forces are failing to properly identify, record, and report “honour”-based killings.

Due to the secretive nature of “honour” crimes and killings, the scale of the problem is still unknown, but the report found that around 29 cases of killings or attempted killings have been reported in the UK media over the past five years.

Shafilea was murdered in 2003 and her parents were finally brought to justice in 2012, both sentenced to 25 years in prison.