THE second annual day of remembrance to mark the brutal murder of teenager Shafilea Ahmed by her parents will be held today, Thursday, on what would have been her 30th birthday.

Last year marked the first memorial day for the 17-year-old Great Sankey pupil who was killed by her parents in 2003 after they believed she had brought shame on the family.

After suffering years of honour-based violence – including an attempted forced marriage – Shafilea’s parents suffocated her to death in front of her siblings.

The couple were finally brought to justice in 2012 following a lengthy trial.
Shafilea's parents were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 25 years.

In 2015, a charity supporting victims of forced marriages won their battle for an annual memorial day to remember victims of honour killings.

Karma Nirvana’s 'Britain’s Lost Women' campaign gathered more than 115,000 signatures calling for the memorial day to be held on July 14 every year - the Great Sankey High School pupil's birthday.

Jasvinder Sanghera, a survivor of a forced marriage and founder and chief executive of Karma Nirvana, said: "We wanted it to be held on Shafilea Ahmed's birthday for a number of reasons.

"Shafilea had been reported to numerous agencies in health, education and housing and there are a lot of lessons to be learned from her case. 

"This is an opportunity to remember people like Shafilea but also to raise national awareness.

"Shafilea would be 30 this year so we will be cutting a birthday cake for her."

An event to honour the memories of both men and women affected by forced marriages and honour killings will take place at The Castlegate in Newcastle today, Thursday.

Last year's event was held in London. 

Jasvinder will lead discussions with British survivors of forced marriages and honour-based abuse.

They will share personal testimonies of rape, family abuse, abduction, attempted suicides albeit born and living in Britain.

This year's event will focus on raising the voices of men and hearing parents honouring lives their families have lost.

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