ISLAMABAD:(APS)Nov 25,2015-Aurat Foundation, in collaboration with Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) organised a study circle on November 25, the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. The study circle was organised on 25 November, 2015, at Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS), Islamabad. Participants included women member of National Assembly, who are also member of Women Parliamentary Caucus, women journalists and representatives of civil society.
Parliamentarians who attended the study circle included Dr Fauzia Hameed MQM, Ms Asia Naz Tanoli PML-N, Ms Mussarat Rafique PPPP, Dr Shazia Sobia, PPPP, Ms Suraiya Jatui, PPPP, Ms Shahida Rehmani, PPPP, Ms Shakila Luqman Chaudhry, PML-N, Ms Shazia Ashfaq, PML-N, Ms Naseema Hafeez Panezai PMAP, Ms Munazzia Hasan PTI, and former MNA and member Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Dr Samia Raheel Qazi.
The theme for study circle was ‘Significance of 16 Days of Activism and Role of Parliamentarians in Elimination of Violence against Women’. The study circle was intended to highlight the systemic nature of gender based violence that encourages inequality and discrimination and how women parliamentarians can play an effective role in its elimination.
Ms Tahira Aurangzeb, MNA, and member Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) briefed the participants on the significance of 16 days of activism and role of parliamentarians in elimination of violence against women. She said that violence against women is not confined to any particular political or economic system, but it prevalent in every society in the world. A World Health Organization’s report reveals that physical and sexual violence against women affects more than one-third of women globally, she further said.
The Constitution of Pakistan under Article 25 (2) states that “There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone”, however Article 26 (2) observes that “Nothing in clause (1) shall prevent the state from making any special provision for women and children”. However, the situation on ground is different, she said.
While elaborating the work of Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC), a cross party forum for women parliamentarians, Ms Aurangzeb said the Caucus has proposed some of the most innovative legislation including the ‘National Commission on the Status of Women Act 2012, ‘Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Bill, 2011’, ‘The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010’, ‘The Criminal Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010’, and ‘The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2009’.
Prof Farkhanda Aurangzeb, Director Coordination and Resource Mobilization, Aurat Foundation, spoke on the significance of 16 Days of Activism, tracing its historical perspective and relating to our own social systems related to attitudes of violence prevalent nationally and globally.
Ms Rabeea Hadi, Director Advocacy, Aurat Foundation, gave a detailed presentation on the history of ’16 Days of Activism’ and situation of violence in Pakistan during January – June 2015 period. Telling the history of 16 days of activism she said that November 25was declared as a day against violence against women by the first Feminist Encuentro for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Bogota, Colombia, 18 to 21 July, 1981. It originally marked the day that the three Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic were violently assassinated in 1960 during the Trujillo dictatorship (Rafael Trujillo 1930-1961).
Ms Rabeea Hadi, while giving the figures of violence against women said that 7 women per day fall under the category of Murder, Honor killing and suicide, 5 women are kidnapped or abducted per day, 3 women are raped or gang raped daily, and 1 women face domestic violence every day.
Situation of Violence Against Women (VAW) during January – June 2015 period
Offences Against Women
No of Cases
Kidnapping / abduction
Rape / gang rape
Syed Shamoon Hashmi, Joint Secretary, Project Management Unit (PMU), National Assembly, talked about how social attitudes and domestic environment contribute in violence against women and its prevalence Pakistan.
Ms Shahida Akhtar Ali, MNA, concluded the study circle. She paid tribute to the first and only women pilot Marriyum Mukhtar, who died in a plane crash during a training flying session yesterday.
The 16-days, starting from November 25 – International Day Against Violence Against Women, till December 10 – International Human Rights Day, were chosen to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. The 16-days period also highlights: November 29 – the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1- the World AIDS Day, December 3 – the International Day of Persons with Disability, and December 6which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.
The participants agreed on some daunting challenges and recommendations how to resolve these. The said that there is a notable absence of state response and larger framework that needs to strengthen institutional mechanism including gender crime cell, women caucuses, national policy framework on VAW (internally displaced, disability). They agreed that for implementation of laws and criminal justice system for VAW we need to take male parliamentarians on board.
Later, women’s civil society has demanded from the government that to ensure the protection of women during a press conference at the National Press Club Islamabad
In this context, She said that draft of legislation are pending in the National Assembly
She added that the EVAWG Alliance Members note with concern that the existing gender equality disparities have worsened due to the current social, economic, political issues and lack of proactive will to deal with Violence against women and girls issues. Though the domestic violence legislation has been passed in 3 provinces the implementation mechanism needs to be strengthened. There are an increasing number of reported cases of domestic violence against women in Pakistan, and innumerable more unreported incidents and cases; yet the State continues to perpetuate the public/private divide, i.e. whatever happens in the home should not be brought into the public realm. By the State remaining silent and the law enforcing mechanisms passive on this issue, such violence is tacitly condoned by them. Treating domestic violence as a private affair has given protection to perpetrators or violence and has led to the victimization of women.
On this day the 25th November 2015 EVAWG Alliance call upon the Government of Pakistan to commit and fulfill the following resolutions:
- Enhance support for the survivors of domestic violence and their right to justice through proper registration, investigation of their cases, counselling right to protection, medical and legal aid.
- Ensure the passage and enforcement of pending pro women legislations at the federal level such as the Domestic Violence Bill, Comprehensive Acid Violence Bill, Early and Forced Marriages bill, through mutual responsibility and cohesion among all actors for ensuring implementation
- Work with civil society organizations, law enforcing agencies and the law department for the effective implementation of the Domestic Violence Legislation and other laws passed in the provinces with reference to evidenced based data and reported cases.
- Strengthen accountability of law enforcing agencies on reported cases of violence against women and girls. Establish a process to track under which laws cases of
domestic violence, rape, acid violence etc. etc. are being dealt so as to ensure that the laws passed are being used effectively.
- Revise the curricula of the judicial and police academies as well as for the service providers, medico-legal officers to address violence against women and girls and also to bring about attitudinal and behavior changes so as to deal sensitively and responsibly with survivors/cases of violence
- Undertake effective measures to rule out the lengthy procedures of drafting and approving the rules of business for legislation passed so that laws approved are implemented without any delay or hurdle.
- Establish proper mechanisms for the implementation and track progress on the recently approved Sustainable Development Goals especially goal 5 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and to address all structural obstacles to ending violence against women and girls
- Ensure the empowerment and participation and the human rights of women and girls in situations of conflict and natural disaster are addressed through a transformative and comprehensive approach to gender equality and gender based violence in humanitarian assistance and protection, by integrating the outcomes of the CSW 59th session and engaging with the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.
International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women was observed on Wednesday.
In this regard sixteen-day countrywide campaign would start today to raise awareness among people on women’s rights.
The government departments, social organizations, human rights groups and media have arranged special functions and programs to highlight the issue during the campaign.
One in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence—mostly by an intimate partner. Whether at home, on the streets or during war, violence against women is a global pandemic that takes place in public and private spaces. Together we can and must end this pandemic.
The National Assembly on the eve of international day for elimination of violence against women, adopted a resolution recommending that concrete efforts be made to end discrimination and elimination of violence against women.
The resolution was moved by Minister for Climate Change, Zahid Hamid.