Each year, an estimated 5,000 women and girls are victims of “honor killings.” This loss of innocent lives is perpetuated by legal systems currently in place around the world that consider women and girls to be second class citizens simply because of their gender.

Today, on International Day of the Girl, we celebrate the passing of an anti-honor killing bill in Pakistani parliament. With the passing of this bill, any person convicted of an honor killing will face a mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison and the prior loophole that allowed the state to release the murderer with forgiveness from the victim’s family has been closed. While a family still has the option of granting forgiveness, it now only applies as a pardon of the death sentence and will not affect the prison sentence.

This news comes just days after 2016’s Global Citizen Festival which brought the debut of the film “ Qandeel Baloch: A Very Short Story ” in a special segment introduced by Global Citizen Founder and CEO Hugh Evans, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri, CHIME FOR CHANGE co-founder Salma Hayek Pinault, and actor and advocate Jada Pinkett Smith.

The film, from Academy Award-winning director and CHIME FOR CHANGE Advisory Board member Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoyt, tells the story of the Pakistani model, actress, activist and social media star Qandeel Baloch who was murdered by her brother earlier this year in a so-called “honor killing.”

With these films, campaigns, and various social media petitions, Global Citizen and CHIME FOR CHANGE continue to encourage the courageous actions and support of those who fight to #LevelTheLaw .

Words by Jillian Warwick