Aurat Publication & Information Service Foundation
Government asked to implement CEDAW and other international conventions to end violence against women in Pakistan , Islamabad


Government asked to implement CEDAW and other international conventions to end violence against women in Pakistan

Speakers at a public event on ending violence against women urged the government to implement CEDAW and other international conventions to end violence against women in Pakistan. They were invited at the launching ceremony of the Institutional Capacity Strengthening of Women Development Department (ICSWDD) project on 11 August, 2016, at Rawalpindi Arts Council.  The event was organized  jointly by Aurat Foundation, Oxfam Pakistan and Ahsas Foundation.

“Violence against women is on rise every day, but we can control it. Although civil society organisations are doing their best, but unless the government cooperate and fulfill its responsibilities towards ensuring women’s rights, violence against women would continue in one way or the other”, said Mr. Shafique Chaudhry, Member National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR), and former Advisor to Ministry of Human Rights. He stressed that that the government shall sincerely implement the international conventions, which it has ratified over the years, including CEDAW, in true spirit. While talking about the objectives of National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR), he said that the NCHR is planning to introduce the preventive measures to end violence against women.

Mr. Sajid Mehmood, Associate Country Director Oxfam Pakistan, while speaking at the launch, said that Oxfam GB is committed to ensuring women’s rights in Pakistan through various programmes like Gender Justice Programme which is operating in 52 districts in Pakistan. Other programmes which directly or indirectly address women and girls rights include Economic Justice Programme, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Humanitarian Assistance, Governance and Girls Education Programme.

Ms. Khalida Perveen, SHO, Rawalpindi, said that women police is doing its best to address the issue of violence against women. “We have established Women Protection Desks and also developed an online system of FIR registration where women can register complaints of violence against them”, she further said.

Ms. Sarkar Abbas, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, while appreciating Aurat Foundation and civil society’s role in ending violence against women through legislation and policies, said that the government shall ensure implementation of pro-women legislation already passed in recent years. She said that courts are always there to do justice on the issues of violence against women if approached properly. She mentioned the acid throwing case of Zakia Begum, and a recent case of rape of Shabana Riffat, where the culprits were sentenced to life imprisonment. Both the cases were advocated by Ms. Sarkar Abbass, who have also been former member of National Safety Commission, and District Public Safety Commission.

“Violence against women escalate manifold during times of conflicts, wars, terrorism and dictatorship”, said Mr. Naeem Mirza, Chief Operating Officer, Aurat Foundation, while speaking at the project launch. He was referring to suicide bombing and mass shootouts in Pakistan like the Quetta carnage, the other day. While tracing the roots of violence against women, he said that the ‘power and control’ is the only weapon which men exploit to suppress women through violence. Violence against women is a centuries’ old phenomenon, but the positive thing to celebrate today is that now there are laws to protect women against violence and discrimination and empower them politically and economically. Referring to great philosophers like Aristotle, who said that women are mutilated part of men, and Sigmund Fried, were all anti-women. He praised women leaders like Razia Sultana, Rani Jhansi, and recent times’ great Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Ms. Mumtaz Mughul, Resident Director, Aurat Foundation, Punjab, said that through this programme Aurat Foundation and Oxfam will work together with the district governments and Women Leaders’ Group (WLG) to ensure the implementation of 100 plus women’s rights initiatives taken by the Government of Punjab. This project is designed to make its working three districts (Kasur, Rawalpindi and Muzaffargarh) as ‘Violence Free Districts’.

Earlier, Ms Shamaila Tanvir, National Programme Coordinator, Institutional Capacity Strengthening of Women Development Department (ICSWDD) project of Aurat Foundation, while sharing the salient features of the project, said that AF, in collaboration with Oxfam GB, is striving to work closely with Women Development Department, Government of Punjab, in developing their road map and enhance their capacity in implementing 'Women Empowerment Package' of the Chief Minister in Punjab which aims to achieve sustainable development through women empowerment and gender justice. She said AF is currently working in three districts of Punjab i.e. Kasur, Rawalpindi and Muzaffargarh to implement, monitor and evaluate women empowerment initiatives to put collective efforts in making these districts ‘Violence Free Districts’.

Mr. Shafique Chaudhry, Member NCHR, Mr. Sajid Mehmood, Associate Country Director Oxfam, Ms. Khalida Perveen, SHO, Rawalpindi, Ms. Sarkar Abbas, Advocate Supreme Court, Ms. Asma, Superintendent Dar-ul-Aman, Ms. Mumtaz Mughul, Resident Director, Aurat Foundation, Ms. Razia Sultana and Ms. Riffat Sultana, President and Secretary (respectively) Women Leaders Group Rawalpindi, Mr. Younas Khalid, Chief Strategy and Policy Officer, Aurat Foundation, Mr. Asim Malak, Director Outreach and Networking, Aurat Foundation, Ms. Saleema Muneer, Programme Manager Oxfam, were presented shields for their services for women’s rights.