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Meeting with Ombudsperson for Punjab protection against sexual harassment arranged, Lahore

30-12-2015
Lahore

Meeting with Ombudsperson for Punjab protection against sexual harassment arranged

Aurat Foundation arranged a meeting with Ms. Farkhanda Waseem Afzal, Ombudsperson for Punjab Protection against Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace on 30 December 2015, at her office. The objective of meeting to enhance coordination between AF and Ombudsperson office. AF delegation was consisted of Ms. Mumtaz Mughal, Resident Director AF, Ms. Nabeela Shaheen Advocate, Coordinator Policy Data Monitoring Violence Against Women, Mr. Anjum Rafiq, Coordinator Institutional Strengthening Capacity Strengthening of Women Development Department, and Mr. Anjum Raza, Programme Officer AAWAZ Voice and Accountability Programme. Ms. Mumtaz Mughal, Resident Director gave a brief introduction of AF programmes and outreach in Punjab. She showed her observations and concerns about weak implementation of Sexual Harassment at workplace Act, nonfunctioning of inquiry committees at district and provincial level, no display of code of conduct in public and private offices, sensitization of inquiry committee members and lack of awareness about law between employees and employers in public and private sector. Ms. Farkhanda Waseem Afzal acknowledged the civil society role for bringing this legislation at provincial level with its implantation mechanism. She said that it is compulsory for all government and semi-government departments to constitute an inquiry committee with at least one woman member. She said there should a competent authority in every department for this purpose. She further said that the code of conduct in English or any other language, which employees could easily understand, should be displayed at prominent place. Ms. Farkhanda said that if head of any department does not constitute inquiry committee, appoint competent authority and display code of conduct at prominent place, a fine up to one lakh rupees can be imposed. In meeting, it was decided that: Office of ombudsperson would activate provincial watch committee for the protection of sexual harassment at workplace; Office of ombudsperson will share the district vise data of inquiry committees of AF AAWAZ districts including Kasur and Muzafar Garh for arranging sensitization sessions; AF team would utilize all its resources to create awareness about the law among public.